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Spay-neuter clinic set up in memory of Websters

By Kathy Chaffin
kchaffin@salisburypost.com
A contribution in memory of Ruth and Don Webster Sr. of Mount Ulla has paved the way for a low-cost spay/neuter clinic and adoption center in Rowan County.
Dr. Corrie Connolly, a partner in Lazy 5 Ranch Veterinary Services, said the contribution by the Webstersí son, Don Jr., and his wife, Betsy, allowed them to set up the clinic as a nonprofit and take some of the financial burden of spay/neuter surgeries off the Rowan County Humane Society.
The Webster Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic & Adoption Center is located in the former James Animal Hospital building next to the new Lazy 5 Veterinary Services facility.
Ruth Webster died in October of 2001, followed by her husband last October. Their son said the clinic is something they would have supported.
Both of them loved animals, he said, but it was his father who was the most passionate. ěHe used to hate seeing stray dogs and cats and thought that spaying and neutering was the best way to address that situation,î he said.
Even after his parents had moved into Trinity Oaks Retirement Community, Webster said his father took a stray cat from there to have it neutered before trying to find it a home.
Ruth and Don Webster Sr. supported the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Humane Society financially for most of their lives. But as they got older, their son said his parentsí contributions extended to numerous animal rescue groups ó a horse foundation, tiger foundation and a foundation for abused circus animals, ěanyone who called on the phone and had a sad story.î
Don Webster Jr. said he appreciates Connolly and her partner, Dr. Rebekah Julian, and their three associates ó Dr. Cara Kluttz, Dr. Mindy Joyner and Dr. Felicia Dunn ó being willing to put the time and effort into the low-cost spay/neuter clinic.
ěTheyíre the ones that have to do the procedures and have it on their premises along with the regular vet business,î he said. ěI donít know that another veterinary service in Rowan County would have been willing to put the time and effort into the facility that they are.î
Betsy and Don Webster Jr. live across the road from Connollyís parents, Lazy 5 Ranch owners Cynthia and Henry Hampton, and have known her since she was 5. He said they met Julian when she and Connolly were students together at N.C. State Universityís College of Veterinary Medicine.
Connolly and Julian worked with Dr. Ted James before buying his clinic in 2005.
The two partners and their associates had been spaying and neutering cats and dogs for the Rowan County Humane Society for about 14 months before setting up the Webster Clinic. Connolly said they had done 250 surgeries, with 40 to 50 percent of those being feral cats.
The Webster Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic & Adoption Center is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to noon. The cost for spaying is $50 for cats and $75 for dogs. Neutering costs are $40 for cats and $65 for dogs.
ěThere can be additional fees,î Connolly said, ěif itís a very big dog or theyíre in heat, that kind of thing.î
Pet owners do not have to meet any income criteria to take advantage of the low-cost clinic. The spay and neuter surgeries offered in the Webster Clinic are the same as those offered in the Lazy 5 animal hospital, she said, minus ěthe TLC and technician time that goes into the surgeries.î
Pet owners drop their dogs and cats by the Webster Spay/Neuter Clinic in the mornings, Connolly said, where receptionist Linda Yundt checks them in, and the owners pick them up in the evenings. The difference is that there is no communication with the owners during the day, the animals are not kept at the clinic overnight on pain medication and theyíre not checked out by a technician.
The only time it would be risky, she said, is if the dogs and cats have not received proper wellness care prior to their surgeries. Dogs, for example, with parasites such as heartworms, would be at high-risk.
When theyíve raised enough money to add onto the Webster Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic building, Connolly said they plan to house 10 to 15 dogs and cats available for adoption. The Webster Adoption Center will work with the Rowan County Humane Society and Faithful Friends Animal Sanctuary to find homes for rescued dogs and cats.
Connolly said they hope to have a computer set up so prospective pet owners can see dogs and cats available through all area animal rescue organizations. ěItís going to be more of a coordinated effort to get as many animals adopted as possible,î she said.
The Rowan County Humane Society will continue to pay the cost of spaying and neutering feral cats captured through the catch and release program. Lazy 5 veterinarians, who will rotate working in the clinic, also test them for feline leukemia and AIDS, deworm them and give them flea medication.
Connolly said feral cats also get their ears notched so they can be identified in the future.
For more information on the Webster Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic & Adoption Center, call 704-216-0300.

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