By Dave Ongie, Managing Editor
Officials gathered at the Washington County Johnson City Animal Shelter last Thursday to break ground on a new spay neuter clinic that is expected to be a game changer when it comes to controlling the pet population in our community.
The new facility was made possible by a donation from Judy and Doug Lowrie and will have the capability to spay or neuter the more than 4,000 animals that come through the shelter each year once it opens in 2022. As time goes on, the clinic will help reduce the number of unwanted pets and further lower the number of animals euthanized in Washington County and Johnson City.
Johnson City Commissioner Jenny Brock said a spay neuter clinic was in the original plans for the new animal shelter building, but the funding wasn’t there to build it. The generosity of the Lowries, Brock said, allowed it to become a reality.
“The clinic, funded by the Lowries, changes the paradigm from rescue to prevention,” Brock said. “This is a game-changer.”
Washington County Mayor Joe Grandy recalls the days when the WCJC Animal Shelter was located in a much smaller building across town and euthinization rates were around 60 percent. “You were a lucky animal if you were rescued or adopted,” he said.
Now Grandy says virtually every healthy dog is adopted out to a family, and the new clinic will help continue that improvement.
City Manager Pete Peterson echoed what Grandy said, and also took a moment to honor late City Commissioner Ralph Van Brocklin, a major supporter of the construction of a bigger animal shelter.
“I certainly want to remember Ralph, because he was one of the key drivers of this project,” Peterson said.