Mineral Wells Area News

Animal Shelter Hires Much Needed Vet

Animal Shelter Hires Much Needed Vet
September 09
11:26 2021

By Lori Lynch/Special Contributor

According to Mineral Wells Police Chief Dean Sullivan, humans are not the only ones experiencing challenges during the pandemic, so are many animals. He presented the city council with a plan to resolve many historical issues facing the animal shelter, including overpopulation.

After 3 years without a contracted veterinarian, the shelter will now operate under the supervision of Dr. Ryan Cate, D.V.M and soon begin implementing procedures to alleviate many concerns.

Currently, the animal shelter is unable to give rabies shots without oversight of a veterinarian and Chief Sullivan believes this contract will advance the shelter’s needs in regards to vaccinations, regulated medications, euthanasia, microchipping, spaying and neutering.

“Having a vet means that we would be able to do something like trap, neuter and release. That’s a program that targets feral cats,” he said. “Without a vet, we can’t do that.”

The city council unanimously voted for the contract Tuesday night that will advance microchipping in local pets. Sullivan says currently, they estimate between 12-15% of pets are microchipped but hopes to increase that number.  “Every animal that leaves that shelter, other than an owner re-claim under protest, will get a microchip. And when we get closer to 40%, I will come to you and ask to make this a city-wide ordinance.”

Sullivan is hopeful that as microchipping rates go up, they can get a better handle on “what dog belongs to whom” and start to tackle what he feels is the city’s underlying issue of abandonment. The number of animals “dumped”  in the city is astounding.

“Im not entirely sure that is our tax payers responsibility. It’s nice that we have people in the city and the county that care enough, but it’s an overwhelming task,” lamented Chief Sullivan.

The new agreement will pay $1000 a month to Dr. Cate for 1 year, in exchange for his services to oversee vaccine administration, train city shelter employees, provide microchipping and perform up to 10 spay or neuters at the shelter each month.

Councilwoman Beth Watson spoke in agreement with the vision. “Obviously, this is a great start, and I would like to see us moving forward,  being able to get ahead of the issue and I think putting some more resources into it on the front end will prevent all of the time we spend on the the back end. I’m glad to see something like this finally happening,” Watson said.

In the past, a voucher system has been used to encourage adoptees to take their new pets to get spayed or neutered to prevent irresponsible breeding, however that has not always been successful. The new partnership with Dr. Cate will help an already overwhelmed animal shelter.

Confident in the plan, Chief Sullivan concluded, “We will do anything we can to really help these animals and people who want to care for the animals. The vet will be the subject matter expert. We have a really good staff down there, they’re very dedicated. When they say they need something we haven’t always been able to do it, so this gets us in a better frame work to move forward.”