Last week I saw a notice that the Orange County Animal Services Mobile Clinic would be making a public appearance and would be utilized for microchipping residents pets for two hours on March 8, from 11AM to 1PM.
Since, for the last six months, I've written and circulated petitions encouraging Orange County Animal Services to get their mobile spay/neuter clinic up and running, sent them emails about them dragging their heels on this, addressed the Mayor and Board a number of times and posted articles here asking for your support, I thought I'd put my column where my mouth is and go check it out.
I'm happy to report the van was there, the people were receptive and gracious, and my cat Kiva is now microchipped for just $15, and for an additional $17.50 (even though the OCAS paperwork says $9.95, that's the price online) she is now registered for life with the Companion Animal Recovery program. She's probably the only one who wasn't pleased about the trip. But she's a house-and-porch cat; a car ride in a crate is very scary! If you haven't done it yet, please microchip and register your furries. You don't know how important it is until one goes missing.
The event took place in conjunction with the Orange County Library System, at the Alafaya Branch off Colonial in Orlando. Apparently there were other pet-related events going on that day, and OCLS invited OCAS to bring the bus. Nice to see two branches of Orange County Government working together! I know that OCLS does bring in dogs from Angel's Therapy as part of their "Paws To Read" program: http://calendar.ocls.info/evanced/lib/eventsignup.asp?ID=197608, but adding in OCAS to microchip resident's pets was just another great addition to this event. I'm not sure why the flyer didn't give the address of the branch, which would have been helpful, but that's just a minor blip.
The SPCA and Greyhound rescue group were there as well. I came late, so I may have missed a few other attendees. According to the flyer, they included Poodle and Pooch Rescue, University of Doglando, the Pet Pantry, A Cause for Paws, and Groom Grub and Belly Rub.
After I introduced myself to the Vet that OCAS hired for the day's event, and the Kennel Manager, they answered a number of my questions and let me take a tour of the bus. Since it was only set up that day for microchipping, the usual spay/neuter equipment had been stowed away. But yes, they are able to s/n cats and dogs up to 50 lbs on the bus. They admit it's not as fancy as the Humane Society bus, in fact, it's pretty bare-bones, but they can use it to do the s/n job. My concern is that the surgical area didn't appear to be separated from the front part where the kennels are, but maybe it is closed off when surgery is going on. In addition, no one knew when the bus would make it's next public appearance.
In any event, 26 animals were microchipped that day; 4 cats and 22 dogs. I was informed that OCAS is currently working on the paperwork to bring on another full-time vet. They are again currently down to just one, since the recent departure of Dr. Ridgway. The second vet has been approved, but bringing them on, apparently, takes a great deal of time. Then they have to be trained in Shelter Medicine procedures. According to the vet on board, Shelter Medicine is very different from private practice. And, moreover, doing any s/n on the bus is not possible unless they hire more vets on an as-needed basis. This used to be the practice when the bus was fully utilized, but that went by the wayside quite some time ago.
So if you need a pet microchipped and the Mobile Unit comes to your area, get on board!