Letters to the Editor
Questions still unanswered
The past dialog about the spay/neuter bus has not offered one single valid answer to our original posed questions, therefore, I would like to reiterate some of our letter.
1. We were not criticizing Ms. Urban and Ms. Gordon’s goals. We were questioning their method. We were and have always been proponents of spaying and neutering. For many years we have helped APAS with spaying and neutering as well as overall animal welfare.
2. We were never approached by them about the spay/neuter bus. Our letter gave a quick calculation of how many animals we could sterilize with the initial two-day amount spent on the spay/neuter bus. This amount would have included precautions against some of the diseases we see here, pain medication and after care.
3. We also asked why not support a long standing group here in Socorro by donating monies to APAS or even the newly establish Grizz Project? APAS has been instrumental in sterilizing pets for more than 15 years. This group of volunteers not only help the spay/neuter effort but they helped at the shelter, help place pets in homes, and provided assistance with medical emergencies all the while doing their best to educate. They have been doing this for years, often with money out of their own pockets. Why are they being ignored? Why is the bus needed when these programs already exist — programs that are much more community and animal friendly. With the infusion of the money spent on the spay/neuter bus, APAS or the Grizz Project would have increased the number of spays and neuters done while supporting the economy of Socorro. This would also allow both veterinary clinics to build relationships with these so-called “people that do not use the services of a veterinarian” that would allow the veterinarians to educate them on the proper care of their pets, thus improving animal welfare and the human animal bond.
The spay/neuter bus does nothing to address the underlying issues. We would venture to say that some of the reasons for abandonment and “gangs” of non-sterilized pets roaming the streets is a lack of education on the value and importance of animals and lack of consideration for the community or the pet.
Pet ownership is a privilege and responsibility, not a right. That cute little puppy or kitten in the window will grow up — it will eat, drink, eliminate and dig holes in the yard and chew up your shoes. It will use the couch as a scratching post and the curtains as a tight rope and it should always be entitled to quality health care, adequate attention, love and reasonable shelter for its entire life. This means financial, emotional and time commitments.
However, too often, once the little puppy or kitten outgrows its “cute impulse purchase or adoption look,” it becomes a burden, resulting in being tied to a tree in the back yard, relinquished to a local shelter or sadly, often times just dumped or abandoned.
We would like to invite Ms. Chang to come in and visit our practice. We would be happy to share with her exactly what is involved in becoming a veterinarian as well as managing a veterinary practice. She is obviously not familiar with our services or the manner in which we provide them.
We have been in Socorro for 15 years and we have been diligent at educating, raising public awareness, not only in a clinic setting but in volunteer hours with 4-H youth. We educate not only on the benefits of sterilization but the need for vaccinations, proper nutrition, parasite control, preventative health, zoonotic diseases as well as end of life care, on a daily basis.
We have done this all the while keeping our prices as reasonable as possible and well below the National and Southwest averages. Our prices are determined by what we have to pay for supplies, medications, practicing and licensing fees, federal and state taxes, utilities and employee salaries.
Again, as we stated in our original letter, we are not supported by government funding or rich investors.
And yes, profit is indeed a factor. Whether you are a human doctor, veterinarian, plumber or hairdresser, a reasonable profit is crucial in order to maintain and provide quality services.
We do hope that she will accept our invitation.
Pepita Wilkinson, DVM
Dan Wilkinson, DVM
Animal Haven Veteriary Clinic of Socorro
Fortunate to have two animal clinics
In response to recent discussions regarding animal care, I have a few thoughts.
May I suggest that both veterinary clinics have a “donation jar” mechanism at their clinics for clients to leave donations as a “thank-you” rather than cards, flowers and goodies? Money collected could then be passed on to APAS to provide financial assistance to local residents for spay/neuter procedures. This would be separate from the shelter adoption assistance they already provide, and would be for all those guys and gals out there keeping the shelter populated with unwanted babies. The money would stay local and pets would get much needed surgery.
On another note, we are fortunate to have a choice of two veterinary clinics, APAS, a shelter and a wonderful group of caring volunteers in this small community. I constantly hear grousing about the cost of animal care. Many of the communities I have lived in charge much more than our local veterinarians.
In just a minimum of four years of professional training, veterinarians are expected to be able to deal with all animals, large, small, domestic, food supply and exotics. They are expected to be proficient in surgical, Ob/Gyn, dental, orthopaedic, general practioner, ER, radiology, pathology, laboratory areas and much more. They and their staff (as with shelter employees) have to deal with potentially fractious and diseased animals on a daily basis.
Veterinarians are required to do continuing education to maintain their license which is required by the state and is not free. Bottom line, yes, they are in business to support themselves, their families and their staff, via providing animal care and animal care products. The clinics are also expected to keep a stock of pharmaceuticals and vaccines which are paid for in advance and have a limited shelf life.
The EPA regulates and controls development and approval of topical pesticides (the flea/tick stuff). The USDA does the same for biologics (items derived from live sources such as vaccines, antibodies and toxoids). The FDA does the same for drugs and even has a special division, Center for Veterinary Medicine, to further control the use, distribution and development of veterinary drugs.
Prescription drugs, per FDA regulations, are limited to use under the supervision of a veterinarian or physician because of their potential danger, toxicity concerns, administration difficulties or a plethora of other considerations. Veterinarians are not control freaks, nor do they have a “monopoly” on drugs.
There you have it…my two cents worth. No, I do not work for either clinic nor have I ever worked at a veterinary clinic.