“It’s Long Hours and it’s Stressful,” Local Shelters Have a Hard Time Finding Vets

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A pet can be a blessing to a family. 

But animal overpopulation and a vet shortage are impacting shelters across the country, and Springfield is not immune to the problem.

We told you last month that Springfield Animal Advocacy Foundation Spay and neuter clinic was about to close down before they found a vet to continue their business.

KOLR10 spoke with the Humane Society about why some non-profits may be having trouble finding vets.

One of the reasons is shelters like the Humane Society and Springfield Animal Advocacy Foundation need experienced vets. 

They deal with lots of wounded animals.

But on a more positive note, this past weekend, the Humane Society’s  “Clear the Shelter” adoption event went very well.

“We were able to adopt over 120 animals,” said Sally Nail, the director of operations at the Humane Society.

Nail is happy about the success of “Clear the Shelter”, but says they want to keep the shelter population down for now.

Nail said, “we have Dr. Callow coming on board, she’ll be here shortly in the next few weeks. It’s very difficult to find vets that want to do shelter med.”

Non-profit shelters have a hard time finding help because they need experienced vets.

“To deal with all different kinds of scenarios for dogs and cats,” Nail explained, “so a very experienced vet for any shelter is probably necessary.”

“I don’t think a lot of people realize that they have to be trained in shelter medicine in high volume,” said Kelsey Bembry, the clinic manager at Springfield Animal Advocacy Foundation, “we do anywhere from 30 to 40 surgeries a day here typically.”

Bembry said shelters face a challenge because they have to keep the salary competitive.

“We have to be able to meet the standard for pay,” Bembry explained, “it’s long hours here and it’s stressful. Lots of animals. We do four 10-hour days and often times it’s longer than that. You have to be able to pay at least the minimum for them to even consider. Because it is hard.”

The Humane Society isn’t able to take any spay or neuter appointments until the new vet is here.

“We do still have a lot of animals here,” said Nail, “we’re asking for help from the community so we can keep intakes coming in.”

Nail said they are looking for long-term and short-term fosters, especially before the new vet starts.

She also asks that anyone who finds a stray dog to please take it to a private vet if possible.

They are a no-kill shelter so they need a lot more help for now before they have a doctor.

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