The Margaret B. Mitchell Spay and Neuter Clinic is located at 16222 Lee Highway in Bristol, Va., and is operated by the Bristol Humane Society. My experience with the clinic involves our cat Peaches. Peaches and our other cat, Raja, are rescue cats that we got through a Facebook posting by a friend who is active in animal rescue work. We took both cats in for our children, and Peaches came into heat recently.
We have a good deal of experience with veterinarians and while I have no complaint with them whatsoever, they are often very expensive. So when Peaches came into heat, I explored the alternatives and found out about the Mitchell Clinic in Bristol. There are other such clinics — in Kingsport and Johnson City, Tenn., as well as one in Floyd County — but I decided to call the clinic in Bristol as a personal preference. It was very easy to set up an appointment, and took about five minutes.
The Margaret B. Mitchell Clinic takes cats and dogs Monday through Thursday. The drop-off time is before 9 a.m., and they ask that you pick your animal up the following day before 9 a.m. as well. The sign-in procedure at the clinic took about 10 minutes, mostly to fill out a form with contact information. Pick up the next day took about five minutes. The entire charge for spaying Peaches, along with a flea and tick treatment as well as rabies vaccination and 24-hour pain medication was $77. I made an additional $10 donation, so it cost $87.
The Bristol Humane Society has a transportation van that regularly travels to Clintwood, Big Stone Gap, and other cities in its Virginia and Tennessee service area. For information on pick-up dates and arrangements, call the main clinic at (276)-591- 5790. Its website is http:// www.mbmspayneuterclinic.org/.
The primary focus is on the dog and cat overpopulation problem in the Virginia counties of Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington and Wise; the cities of Bristol and Norton; and the city of Bristol and county of Sullivan in Tennessee, but it will accept animals from other places, such as Letcher County, as well.
The costs are as follows: spay/neuter, all dogs $60, female cats $55, male cats $40. The clinic also performs other veterinary services. It accepts cash and credit/debit cards for payment, but does not take checks.
At the January meeting of the Letcher County Fiscal Court, District Five Magistrate Wayne Fleming suggested using $300,000 in coal severance tax funds for spay and neuter clinics in Letcher County rather than giving the money to the four-county consortium that operates the Kentucky River Animal Shelter in Perry County for construction of a new building.
The funds were originally allocated for the construction of a no-kill animal shelter for Letcher County, but the coal and gas companies that had agreed to fund the day-to-day operation of the shelter are no longer doing business in Letcher County.
The court tabled the matter so its members could get more information on their options, and it will be addressed at the February meeting.