Low-cost spay/neuter clinic in works

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By Laura Lewis, Reporter

Thanks to a donation from a resident, a new reduced-cost spay-neuter clinic for pets should be opening in a few more months.

The clinic will be at the site of a former plant nursery off U.S. 17 in the Winnabow area.

The effort is being orchestrated by Adopt an Angel, an animal rescue and foster nonprofit group based in Wilmington.

The future facility, targeted for opening this summer, came about thanks to a $200,000 donation last April from an unnamed individual, according to Jo Hitchuk of Adopt An Angel.

A fund for the facility, dubbed the “Miss Avis Davis Fund,” is named in memory of the anonymous donor’s rescued dog.

Hitchuk said the donation was used to purchase the existing foreclosed property, including main building and greenhouses at the approximate 2-acre site fronting the highway. Three greenhouses will “have to go,” she said.

“We’re doing renovations right now,” she said, adding the work is depleting the fund.

Hitchuk said they hope to secure an additional grant from PetSmart to buy equipment.

Adopt an Angel has been accepted into the Humane Alliance Mentorship Program to be part of a National Spay/Neuter Response Team.

PetSmart Charities is working with the Humane Alliance of Asheville to fund and run a national, state-of-the-art spay/neuter training center in that city.

There are now 115 spay-neuter clinics in the United States.

Adopt an Angel’s will be the 116th one.

“It’s huge to be accepted into their program,” Hitchuk said.

It’s estimated the spay/neuter facilities together will provide more than 1 million surgeries annually, with an ultimate goal of reducing euthanasia of companion animals.

Adopt an Angel was accepted into the training program in January. Its future clinic workers will be training with the Asheville team.

“It’s falling into place, but we need a lot more money,” Hitchuk said.

The model for the future facility will consist of a staff of four and a veterinarian. It is hoped the low-cost clinic will be open four days a week, Hitchuk said.

The facility will target animal rescues and shelters that aren’t adopting out animals that have already been spayed and neutered prior to adoption, as well as feral cats or Good Samaritans who find animals or rescue strays.

The facility will be open to anyone and won’t screen for income. But it will provide only basic shots at the point of surgery, and there will be no repeat visits for animals or wellness programs as provided by traditional veterinarians.

Adopt an Angel has been in existence since 2004, serving New Hanover, Pender and Brunswick counties.

“This all came about because volunteers looked at shelters to see how many [animals] they can save,” Hitchuk explained.

Since the rescue group’s formation, 7,000 animals have been rescued and placed with new homes or foster care. But 55,000 more have been euthanized among the three counties.

The new clinic will help offset those numbers even more, Hitchuk said.

“The whole goal is to reduce the number and homeless animal problem,” she said.

Another offshoot program of the group, Spay A Stray, focuses on feral cats through a trap, neuter and release program.

Adopt an Angel has no physical facility but works through its network of volunteers. It also conducts pet adoptions on Saturdays and Sundays at PetCo in Wilmington.

Information about Adopt An Angel is available at its website online at www.adoptanangel.net or by calling (910) 392-0557.

Tax-deductible donations can also be sent to Adopt an Angel, P.O. Box 15095, Wilmington, NC 28408.


Laura Lewis is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or email llewis@brunswickbeacon.com.