BLOUNTVILLE – After a year or more of planning and development, the Sullivan County Animal Shelter opened its own operating room on Friday. This means that sterilization and sterilization can be done in-house for the first time.
“This is a huge deal,” said Dr. Jennifer Weisent, professor of shelter medicine at the University of Tennessee School of Veterinary Medicine, of the new three-table surgical area and prep rooms. adjacent, the laboratory station and the recovery area.
“This area, the Tri-Cities region, is in desperate need of help with the overpopulation of animals and this makes it easier for us to help the shelter and the shelter to help itself,” Weisent said. .
Weisent, along with UT veterinary students and certified veterinary technicians, visited the new operating room on Friday to perform the first surgeries.
Shelter manager Brandi Perkey said being able to sterilize and sterilize on site will help the shelter reduce the costs and time spent transporting animals to the UT, and it will speed up the adoption process and the community cat program. All animals adopted out of the shelter must be sterilized or sterilized. And the goal of the Community Cat Program is to capture, “fix” and release as many unowned cats as possible. The goal of the program is to reduce this population over time by ending the cycle of stray cats having repeatedly kittens, which, in turn, do the same.
UT’s veterinary program has been helping the shelter for some time, making visits to Blountville with its mobile sterilization and sterilization clinic. But shelter workers also regularly transported cats on Interstate 81.
“We have a great mobile unit,” Weisent said. “But it’s hard to get it here. This operating room allows us to come and work here and hopefully the local vets may be willing to come here one day a month, or as often, and help the shelter.
“Normally in the past we had to drive the animals to UT or meet them at Exit 23 of Interstate 81,” Perkey said.
“This is exactly what we need,” Weisent said. “It’s a big problem for this region.
Weisent said the shelter wouldn’t be what it has become without Perkey’s dedication and hard work.
Perkey said the shelter, together with UT, the Margaret Mitchell Spay / Neuter Clinic in Bristol, Va., And area vets, has already spayed or neutered more than 500 community cats this year – and more than 460 are on a waiting list.
“We are delighted with the progress we have made and the partnership with UT,” said Linda Brittenham, chair of the board of directors of the Sullivan County Animal Shelter on Friday. “This is a win-win situation for the animals and everyone in Sullivan County. We are not in competition with the veterinarians in our region. We see this as a complement to the services they provide. We hope that we can find a solution for some of them to volunteer to perform sterilization at the shelter one day a month for a few hours.
Perkey and Brittenham each congratulated all of the volunteers and workers, giving them and the shelter’s community partners credit for transforming the shelter over the past two years.
“It’s a team,” Brittenham said. “Everyone is working for the same common goal.
Brittenham said development of the operating room really got underway when a shelter benefactor passed away and left a bequest of more than $ 26,000 at the shelter.