Daviess County Fiscal Court voted in approval Thursday night for the advertisement of a new, county-based veterinarian and clinic that would provide affordable spay, neutering and adoption services. The move would also prevent an exponential increase in the euthanization of sheltered animals.
According to Assistant County Treasurer Jordan Johnson, the decision to advertise and eventually create the position followed a recent bid for veterinarian services that received no takers.
“Ultimately, East Side Animal Hospital was selected to be our sole provider. Our agreement with East Side ended this year with the death of Dr. Marsch, which prompted us to conduct another bid for services,” Johnson said. “We received no responses and, upon polling local vets, we found that there was no local availability to service our annual volume. That put us in a position to either seek an alternative or triple our euthanasia rate.”
Johnson said veterinarians were also turned off from placing bids because of the services Fiscal Court required, which represented the lowest sources of revenue.
“Hiring a county veterinarian would be a first step to seeing whether or not we can secure a position through a county spay/neuter clinic and preserve our semi-no-kill shelter status,” Johnson said. “After reviewing operational expenses of other county-run clinics, it is anticipated that the additional expense of this clinic would be covered by adoption and spay/neuter fees, making it self-sustaining.”
Ultimately, the scope and range of expenses would have to be approved by Fiscal Court, Johnson noted. If the project came to fruition, having an onsite vet would improve the overall health and condition of animals housed at the shelter, he said.
“In addition, we would be able to offer low-cost spay/neuter services to the public who are currently going outside the community for such alterations,” he added.
Mattingly said this effort took a lot of hard work on Johnson’s part, adding that several other governmental agencies across the state already had county-run vet services.
“We think that doing this will also enhance the vet tech program at OCTC, allowing the vet techs to train under a veterinarian,” he said. “If you can do it — and if you can do it at very little, if any additional costs — we think we could either break even or even make a little money off it.”
Mattingly noted that Fiscal Court’s options had been limited after no bids were returned, and that he didn’t feel right about potentially tripling the number of euthanized animals from 20% to 60%.
“I don’t think many people were willing to do that,” he said.