WIKWEMIKONG— Thanks to the hard work of a dedicated group of community volunteers in Wikwemikong and the new Welland and District SPCA Mobile Spay and Neuter Unit, over 60 cats and dogs were treated last week.
Wikwemikong residents, led by Jenni Manitowabi and Jean Flamand, began an initiative earlier this year to help community members spay and neuter their pets.
Ms. Manitowabi previously told The Expositor that she and Ms. Flamand have been working with the community, band council and the SPCA to try and develop a solution to the problem of free and roaming dogs in Wikwemikong.
This summer the pair learned of the new Welland and District SPCA Mobile Spay and Neuter Unit and began efforts to bring the unit to Wikwemikong.
Pet owners were able to book ahead of time with community volunteers and bring their pets to the mobile unit for appointments last week, which was located in the parking lot of the Wikwemikong arena.
“It’s been a busy week,” John Greer, Welland and District SPCA executive director, told The Expositor last Wednesday. “We treated 19 cats and dogs yesterday, and we have another 20 today and about another 20 tomorrow. We don’t just spay or neuter, we also deworm, treat animals for fleas or address any other medical issues.”
The mobile unit team consists of two veterinarians, five veterinary technicians and 15 volunteers who assist with everything from registration to recovery.
Dr. Johanne Paquet of the Island Animal Hospital in Mindemoya also lent her services to the mobile clinic during its stop in Wikwemikong.
The mobile unit’s mandate is to only make enough profit in order to run the unit, making the cost $80 for cat spay or neuters and $140 for dogs.
As well, Wikwemikong chief and council subsidized the cost making it more affordable to community members.
“The mobile clinic has been accredited by the College of Veterinarians of Ontario and is a fully equipped mobile surgical clinic designed to travel where veterinarian services are limited,” explained Mr. Greer.
Mr. Greer said that the Welland and District SPCA saw a need for this type of service and facility and that it was made possible thanks for a grand from the Pet Smart Charities of Canada.
The first of its kind in Ontario, the mobile clinic made its first visit earlier this summer to the Six Nations of Grand River. The Wikwemikong clinic last week was the second visit the clinic has made.
“We have been in talk with 12 other communities,” said Mr. Greer. “The demand is there, we are just trying to coordinate the visits.”
“The reception in Wikwemikong has been great,” he added. “We have had a lot of very positive support and it is great that the community has been so involved.”