Rock County Humane Society to hire on-site veterinarian

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Shelly Birkelo
Thursday, January 9, 2014

JANESVILLE—If things go as planned, the Rock County Humane Society will have an on-site veterinarian on staff by June.

The three-quarter-time doctor would replace a mobile veterinarian the humane society now hires to come to its facility once a week to perform surgeries that include neutering and spaying, said Brett Frazier, executive director.

“The overall goal is to improve the health of the pets,” Frazier said.

This includes animals that are being adopted and other pets such as cats that could spend three months or longer at the shelter, he said.

Having a vet on site provides help for existing medical staff that assesses, treats and keeps animals happy and healthy, Frazier said.

“That's a big step up” for the current medical staff, he said, noting current staff microchips pets, administers medications and handles anything else associated with animal care.

“They are not able to do anything that a vet would have to oversee or prescribe,” he said.

The humane society does work with other local vets who provide services at little or no cost, but it has to transport the animals for that service, Frazier said.

While medical staffers, an adoption counselor or volunteers conduct daily checks on animals, a veterinarian is capable of observations that might otherwise be missed, he said.

Facility improvements also will be made at the humane society, and new equipment and supplies will be purchased, Frazier said.

 “We'll be creating a better surgical suite and vet area," he said. "Where we're doing surgery now is our intake room. That's why we're building a space in another area of the building."

The transition is a big undertaking, but it is one that is important to the humane society's mission and the pets it serves, Frazer said.

The humane society believes it can hire a well-qualified, trained and passionate veterinarian for around $50,000, an amount that already has been budgeted for this year.

To help fund the position, the humane society will host its first Valentine's Day dinner, called The Fur Ball, at 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14, at Rotary Botanical Gardens, 1455 Palmer Drive. The event will feature drinks, dinner, and live music by Chicago-based Rhythm Rockets.

Board members and staff will spend the first half of 2014 nailing down what exactly is needed for this veterinarian to operate efficiently, and what the new surgical area will look like before determining these capital expenditures, he said.

Having a vet on staff also will mean pets can be moved more expediently through the humane society. Now, needed surgeries are conducted only on Tuesdays. With a on-site vet available, surgeries can be conducted as needed, meaning adoptive families won't have to wait as long to take their pets home.

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