Kitty Haven takes service to the cats
NEIGHBORHOOD NOTES: Kitty Haven takes service to the cats
November 18, 2006 -
By Rhonda Reese, NEIGHBORHOOD NOTES
Cars began pulling into the parking lot of Two Time Tack and Feed in Bayard before 8 a.m. on a recent morning.
The early arrivals weren't present to purchase critter food. They were there to unload pet carriers, each containing a cat that needed to have an exam, be tested and vaccinated and then spayed or neutered.
By 9 a.m., Venita Blackwelder, director of Bless Their Hearts Kitty Haven and appointment coordinator for River City Community Animal Hospital, had the paperwork completed and signed for every patient. Each cat - some pets, some strays and some ferals - waited in a separate cage inside River City Community Animal Hospital's mobile clinic.
The nonprofit operated by Pat Gionet, Sarah Skinner, Stacey Chesser, Javacia Rowe and Blackwelder is dedicated to ending pet overpopulation in Jacksonville and south Georgia.
According to River City, more than 7,000 cats are euthanized each year because there aren't enough homes for them. To address the problem, the mobile hospital offers low-cost spaying and neutering for cats to prevent more kittens from being born.
"We offer the highest standard of medical care," Blackwelder said. "Every animal, no matter its background, is special to us. I can't help but give each of the kitties a little kiss on the head once they are anesthetized."
River City travels to various locations throughout Jacksonville and southeast Georgia each month. Those taking advantage of the organization's services leave their cats in the morning and pick them up by 4:30 p.m. Each client gets to meet with the vet to discuss the animal's physical exam, talk about any problem discovered and learn about follow-up care.
"I've taken a couple of cats to River City, and I've been very pleased with their care," said Debbie Neudeck of Mandarin.
A lifelong feline fan, Neudeck said she knows the fate of unaltered cats.
"They continue to reproduce," she said. "That can lead to unimaginable suffering for homeless cats struggling to survive."
River City Animal Hospital has performed hundreds of spay/neuter surgeries and hopes to purchase a larger mobile unit to allow for even more services. The nonprofit welcomes donations and volunteer assistance. For more information, call 733-8123.