Daviess County leaders celebrate the groundbreaking of a new veterinary services clinic.
“This is a big day for our Animal Shelter and highlights our commitment to expanding low-cost spay/neuter services in our County, along with improving on-site care for dogs and cats awaiting adoption at the shelter,” said Judge-Executive Al Mattingly.
The clinic will be an addition to the existing animal shelter at 2620 Ky. Hwy. 81 in Owensboro.
Daviess County Fiscal Court awarded a construction contract to Q and S Enterprises, LLC. Work on the building addition is underway now, with estimated completion in the spring of 2022.
To coincide with the groundbreaking, county leaders announced a rebranding for the department as Daviess County Animal Care & Control. This updated name reflects the mission of providing housing and care for animals in need, while promoting responsible pet ownership and safeguarding public health and safety.
Animal Care & Control provides low-cost spay/neuter services, vaccinations, education on animal welfare, and investigates reports of animal cruelty and/or general animal complaints.
“We are very excited about our new clinic,” added Ashley Thompson, Director of Daviess County Animal Care & Control. “We hired a county veterinarian, Dr. Julie Gray, this past July. She has been performing surgeries at an off-site location right now.”
“The new clinic will allow us to provide high quality care on-site, including wellness checks, spay/neuter, vaccinations, and other routine and life-saving procedures for animals in the shelter,” she added.
Daviess County Animal Care & Control received nearly 3,000 animals in 2020.
By expanding availability of low-cost spay/neuter services, the County is hoping to reduce the overpopulation of dogs and cats in the area.
“There are too many animals and not enough homes,” said Dr. Julie Gray, County Veterinarian. “No one wants to see them euthanized. That’s where this spay/neuter clinic is a big part in keeping that under control.”
“There are health benefits to having a pet spayed or neutered as well,” Dr. Gray continued. “For example, mammary cancer is a concern with females and prostate problems in our males, as well as unwanted male behavior such as dog fighting or roaming.”
In the future, the County may pursue a ‘trap and release’ program for stray cats.
“Cats serve a good purpose in the community,” said David Smith, Director of Legislative Services. “They help keep mice, rats, and other vermin down but they can become overpopulated.”
When the on-site spay/neuter clinic is operational next spring, the County expects to perform anywhere from 20 to 35 surgeries per day.
“We are not the first county to operate a veterinary services clinic,” Smith said. “Hardin County, Kentucky hired a veterinarian about two years ago, and that program is working well. We were able to get an idea of our projected operational costs.”
Currently, there are not many low-cost spay/neuter clinics available in the region. The County anticipates scheduling surgeries for other rescues and shelters, as demand is outpacing the available appointments.
“Ultimately, it became impossible to secure the veterinary care our animals needed,” Judge-Exec. Mattingly concluded. “We were faced with two paths…to start putting down more animals or hire a vet and start our own clinic. I’m proud that this Fiscal Court chose to invest in animal care and adoption.”
Daviess County residents who are interested in adopting, fostering, or volunteering with the Animal Shelter can visit the website or call 270-685-8275 for more information.