Surgery center expanding Humane Society capabilities

       A new 3,000-square-foot surgery center will allow the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region to provide veterinary care for strays and abandoned pets and to set up an in-house spay/neuter and vaccine program.

Dan O'Rear (left) and Dr. Wes Metzler of the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region pose with a stuffed version of the pets that will soon be treated in the non-profit agency's new surgery center.
Westside Pioneer photo

       An open house for the facility - added to the existing building at 610 Abbott Lane - took place Feb. 24.
       Costing roughly $800,000, the center was funded by the non-profit agency, with help (about a quarter of the total) from “very generous donors,” said Board Chair Dan O'Rear.
       The project has been in the planning for several years, according to Dr. Wes Metzler, the Humane Society's executive director. “We are thrilled to take this important step forward,” he said. “We believe this new surgery center will offer a great deal more convenience to our adopters.”
       The facility will not be open to the general public for regular vet service.
       The space includes a surgery suite, X-ray, laboratory, recovery rooms and a separate room for treatment of feral cats. The latter is part of the Humane Society's “trap-neuter-return” program, in conjunction with community agencies and individuals, in which feral cats (living wild) are “humanely trapped, tested for fatal disease and vaccinated, spayed or neutered and returned to their home colony,” said Ann Davenport, the agency's community resources director. The goal is to reduce the area's feral cat population, estimated at about 30,000.
       With equipment still coming and people being hired, the surgery center is still in start-up mode. Metzler advised it will take a “few months to get these programs fully operational.”
       Once the center is up and running, Davenport said that agency leaders “will have to assess how much veterinary care we can provide in-house, but our hope is to be able to meet the vast majority of shelter animals' veterinary needs here at our facility. Currently, we spend a significant amount of money on vet care for sick and injured strays and abandoned pets, to the tune of about $125,000 to $150,000 annually, even with local veterinarians donating more than $125,000 in in-kind services.”
       Previously, when it came across injured animals, the agency had to look for willing vets in the area. As for spay/neuter, people adopting an unaltered pet from the Humane Society were given a voucher for the surgery, redeemable at more than 70 local vet offices. “Now, we'll be able to spay-neuter the pet before it goes home,” Davenport said.
       Along with the surgery center, the agency will continue to provide a veterinary evaluation center that vaccinates and gives triage examinations to assess the health of incoming animals.
       The evaluation center was created in 2000, when the shelter was built off Abbott Lane (just east of Eighth Street, near Wal-Mart), but it lacked the equipment, staff and training to perform surgeries, she said.
       The Humane Society started in Colorado Springs 60 years ago.

Westside Pioneer/press release