COMMUNITY SPIRIT: Low-cost spay, neuter clinics to resume here

Pets for Life Tahlequah hosts low-cost spay and neuter clinics for dogs and cats, as well as a Trap-Neuter-Release program for feral and community cats with the city of Tahlequah animal control officer.

The Tahlequah Pets for Life office will resume offering spay and neuter and pet wellness clinics at the end of October. While these are low-cost clinics, they are open to all dog and cat owners.

Pets for Life is a program started by the Peaceful Animal Adoption Shelter in Vinita. According to the website, www.paasvinita.com/pets-for-life, PAAS is focused on delivering pet owner support services in Vinita and Tahlequah, which have 25 and 30 percent poverty rates respectively.

"The goal is to keep pets with their people," said Rhonda Norris, programs director. "We want to be a resource to the community. We're a resource for those with issues with feeding, spaying and neutering, or issues with their landlords because of pets."

Clinics are held in Tahlequah on Thursdays and Fridays, every other month, at the Pets for Life clinic, 304 W. Keetoowah St. The next set of clinic dates will be: Oct. 29, Nov. 12-13, and Nov. 19-20. Appointments are available throughout the day of the clinic, but organizers do have a system. They will normally take care of female dogs in the morning, and male dogs afterward.

Pets are not dropped off, but if a surgery will take an hour, Norris said owners are welcome to leave for food or an errand. Services include: spay or neuter; rabies and other vaccines; heartworm tests; deworming; and microchips.

During each clinic day, Norris said they see about 30-35 animals.

"We try to make sure we can get at least 30 a day," she said.

Pets for Life has been doing spay and neuter clinics in Tahlequah for a little over a year. To date, around 3,000 surgeries have been performed.

"We also spay and neuter all of the community cats and feral cats," said Norris. "The city's ACO [animal control officer] Vicky Green traps them. She's really great."

Through the Trap-Neuter-Release program, cats are turned back out into the community, but the program helps reduce future population issues.

As a nonprofit, Pets for Life depends on donations to be able to offer services.

"Cash donations are a big help," said Norris. "We also provide pet food to people who have a need."

Donations of cat and dog food and cat litter are accepted, and will be distributed back into the community.

"We try to keep a good stock so people can come by and get it," said Norris.

Since she and two others are running the Tahlequah and Vinita offices, there are not always set office hours. Interested people should call to make an appointment to pick up food. Norris plans to have a food distribution day or event in the future.

Get help

For a Pets for Life clinic appointment or more information or assistance, call 918-323-1780.

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