Southampton Animal Shelter Brings Mobile Neuter Clinic to Communities

Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation President Jonathan McCann and NBC animal welfare correspondent Jill Rappaport.
Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation President Jonathan McCann and NBC animal welfare correspondent Jill Rappaport. Photo credit: Brendan J. O'Reilly

In order to make it easier for responsible pet owners to get their dogs and cats spayed and neutered, the Southampton Animal Shelter has rolled out a new mobile clinic to serve Southampton—and eventually the whole state.

With an estimated 8 million dogs and cats residing in shelters in the United States at any time, about half are euthanized each year, according to the Humane Society.

Spaying and neutering is the most important thing to do to cut down on euthanasia, said Jill Rappaport, a Water Mill resident and NBC’s animal welfare correspondent, while she helped Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation President Jonathan McCann give a tour of the mobile clinic last week.

The mobile clinic is by La Boit, an Ohio company that makes specialty vehicles for medical and emergency uses. Step inside and it’s like being at a veterinarian’s office. It is well lighted with heating and air-conditioning. An examination table sits in the center, and back in the surgery room there is vitals monitoring and anesthesia equipment. There are four cages for patients waiting their turn or ready to be picked up by their owners. On one side, the cages open to the inside of the van, while on the other large windows let them see outside and feel less cramped. A retractable awning provides shade so they don’t get too hot.

“When people see this, it’s pretty amazing,” Rappaport said of the clinic.

Rappaport is an award-winning animal advocate and a big supporter of the shelter in Hampton Bays. In 2013, the shelter honored her at its fourth annual Unconditional Love Gala, a major fundraising event.

Southampton Animal Shelter is a no-kill shelter, meaning adoptable animals will never be put down. It is always filled to capacity, with about 135 cats and 70 dogs. Whenever local animals don’t fill the shelter, it accepts puppy mill breeder dogs and dogs from a high-kill shelter in Georgia.

“It’s our dream to see empty cages,” Rappaport said.

While the shelter has historically offered spay and neutering on-site, the mobile clinic is a first for the entire East End.

The ASPCA awarded the clinic to the shelter through a grant program. “We’re eternally grateful for their support,” McCann said.

While the shelter’s first obligation is to Long Island, he said, the van will eventually travel all over Suffolk and Nassau counties—and Upstate.

The mobile clinic has already had its maiden voyage, to the Shinnecock Indian Reservation in Southampton. Next up was the Southampton Town Recreation Center in North Sea and Riverhead Polish Hall. On Sunday, January 25, the clinic will travel to Hampton Bays Legion Ambulance, and then, Sunday, January 26, to YMCA in Patchogue.

The shelter will also use the clinic to address Long Island’s feral cat population. The clinic, with Hampton Bays’ Shinnecock Animal Hospital, will stop at Jefferson Drive in Mastic Beach to alter a number of feral cats that volunteer Joann Powers  has trapped. The spayed and neutered cats will then be released, so they can live out their lives—but won’t breed and contribute more to the overpopulation.

The cost to alter a cat is $35 for males and $40 for females. For dogs under 50 pounds, the cost is $60 for males and $75 for females. Add $10 for dogs between 50 and 75 pounds and $20 for dogs over 76 pounds. The mobile clinic also offers vaccinations, including rabies, bordatella and DA2PP. Microchipping is $20.

Hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Service is by appointment only. Call 631-566-8870.

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