Staff shortages cause appointment backlog at a local low-cost spay/neuter clinic

Humane Ohio is booked through the end of the year.
More than 16,000 dogs and cats will be fixed at the clinic this year, but that is several thousand below the goal
Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 6:26 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Like a lot of businesses, veterinary clinics here at home and across the country are hiring. Humane Ohio is one of them.

The staff shortage at the low-cost spay/neuter clinic has led to a big backlog when it comes to getting an appointment right now.

Thousands of cats and dogs are spayed or neutered every year at Humane Ohio. The low-cost clinic moved into a new building with the goal of increasing its numbers, but that hasn’t happened because of lingering challenges from the pandemic.

Humane Ohio is on track to spay and neuter more than 16,000 animals this year. Interim Executive Director Laura Simmons-Wark said the clinic has had quite the year.

“So far this year, we have spayed or neutered over 12,000 animals, and we have 4,000 more scheduled through the rest of the year,” she said.

But getting to those numbers has been a real challenge. “We are essentially booked through the end of this year. If we aren’t getting animals in to be spayed or neutered, it means there are more animals ending up in shelters. We are taking this very seriously right now,” Simmons-Wark said.

The low-cost spay/neuter clinic moved into a larger space on Alexis Road in November 2020. Outreach Coordinator Val Bohland said the relocation was an intentional move to support an increase in appointments.

“Our intention was to move into the new building and do big numbers. That was our goal, but that is just not able to happen right now,” Bohland said.

The clinic had to close for almost two months because of the pandemic, and that has been compounded by staff shortages. “It has led to a never-ending battle of never getting caught up with the high demand for spay/neuter,” said Simmons-Wark.

Bohland said the plan is to hire at least two more full-time vets, but the staffing challenges don’t end there. “We’re short on vet techs, vet assistants, even our front desk staff, and our behind-the-scenes crew. We’re short everywhere across the board.”

The clinic fixes animals from 11 counties around the region. Simmons-Wark said some [animals] come from shelters and rescue groups.

Others have owners, and community cats are also spayed and neutered at the clinic.

“We’re working our tails off here at Humane Ohio to spay and neuter as many animals as possible to make a bit of a dent in our uncertain future. This is not just going to end next year, chances are we’ll be feeling that impact for years to come,” Simmons-Wark said.

Until the job openings can be filled, Bohland reminds everyone to be understanding and patient. “We are booked up for the rest of the year, but we encourage people to call us. If there are cancellations, we want to fill those appointments, there are no appointments that go unfilled,” Bohland said.

Humane Ohio is working on its plan right now for appointment scheduling in the new year. More than 220,000 animals have been spayed and neutered at Humane Ohio since it first opened in 2006.

The non-profit relies on donations and grants to operate and keep costs down. If you’d like to donate, click here.

See a spelling or grammar error in our story? Please include the title when you click here to report it.