Heartwood Haven, a farm animal sanctuary in Roy, is seeking donations to outfit a low-cost spay and neuter clinic to serve community members in need and reduce the number of unwanted animals.
Access to affordable veterinary care is a pressing concern in rural communities, and Roy is no exception. Limited veterinary services, compounded by the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, have made it increasingly difficult for residents to secure timely appointments for their animals.
“For low-income individuals, it’s even more difficult. Almost every single low-cost spay/neuter clinic within 100 miles of our region is booked out and not accepting new appointments,” Heartwood Haven Executive Director Kate Tsyrklevich said. “This leads to unwanted litters, overcrowded shelters, unwanted pets, health problems and more stray animals in the community. At worst, not spaying and neutering leads to large-scale hoarding cases, which are a huge drain of resources and time.”
Heartwood Haven has worked on several cruelty cases, some involving hundreds of unspayed and unneutered animals lacking care and a safe environment. Uncontrolled breeding often contributes to many of these situations and harm the animals.
“These cases are completely avoidable,” Tsyrklevich said.
Heartwood Haven has taken steps to bring the low-cost spay and neuter clinic to fruition.
The organization has transformed a dedicated space in its facility, turning it into a surgical clinic equipped with new floors, windows and running water. A veterinary team has donated $10,000 worth of cabinetry, supplies and equipment to the project.
“Now our goal is to raise another $50,000 to purchase anesthesia and monitoring equipment, surgery tables and other necessary surgical supplies to outfit the space, and then we can get to work,” Tsyrklevich said.
“It will make our work a lot easier and more affordable,” Tsyrklevich said. “We also will offer low-cost services to individuals in our community who are low-income, seniors or disabled. The clinic will be used to service a wide range of animals, from farm animals who we rescue to cats and dogs.”
Fundraising efforts for the low-cost surgery clinic began in July, spurred by a $10,000 grant. The organization is intensifying its focus on fundraising, launching a campaign on GivingTuesday, Nov. 28. Heartwood Haven aims to secure the necessary funds — about $50,000 — within a few months, ideally seeing the clinic fully funded by the end of 2023.
“The most enthusiastic responses we have seen in our community have been from people who volunteer or work with other rescues,” Tsyrklevich said. “They understand how crucial this is. Washington has made big efforts in spay and neuter services, which is the reason why the state is able to bring in pets from high-kill shelters across the country. Other states would see a huge decrease in their unwanted pet population if they followed suit.”
Heartwood Haven encourages people to donate through its website, https://heartwoodhaven.org/giving-tuesday and/or to nominate the clinic to receive a $25,000 grant at https://ambergrantsforwomen.com/july-animal-services-grant-awarded-to-heartwood-haven/.