Prevent Homeless Pets opens in Benton City

Dori O'Neal, Tri-City HeraldOctober 13, 2013 

A new no-kill clinic, Prevent Homeless Pets, is up and operating in Benton City.

Director Harriet Johnson was able to procure a downtown storefront at 812 Della Ave. in 2012, but it took a year to get the facility ready for its four-legged patients.

The nonprofit clinic has provided affordable spay and neuter services for owned and homeless cats and dogs since 2009. But it didn't have a permanent home until now.

Johnson had been using her Toyota van to transport supplies and animals to spay and neuter clinics in Yakima and the Tri-Cities, and storing all the supplies in a storage unit in Richland.

A fundraiser collected $16,000 and an anonymous donor contributed another $10,000 to make the new facility -- at the corner of Della Avenue and Ninth Street -- possible, Johnson said.

Parr Lumber in Pasco donated the wood for the framework for the kennels. Plumber Don Williams donated his time to take care of the plumbing. Freedom Electric donated electrical work. Vineyard Veterinary clinic donated a bank of kennels. and the Pet Over Population Prevention organization gave used kennels obtained from the Benton Franklin Humane Society when it moved into a new building last year.

"We are grateful to so many people who helped make this possible," she said. "It's a good starter facility, and we are just so happy to finally have a home."

Charlene Weber of Pasco even donated kitchen counters and cupboards from her home.

"Her husband was going to buy her a new house, but she said she'd rather have a new kitchen," Johnson said.

Darlene Agnew, a retired nurse, is one of several volunteers. She donates her time once a week helping cats in recovery after surgery.

The clinic has earned such a good reputation that people bring cats from Pendleton and Ellensburg to be spayed or neutered, Agnew said.

"I was an immunization health nurse for many years, so giving shots is natural for me," Agnew said. "I have lots of feral cats that I feed and take care of that PHP helped spay and neuter. I saw all the good Harriet has done and wanted to help, so I started volunteering. We took care of 30 cats last week. (The new clinic) is a smooth operation, and everybody works well together."

Dr. Sheila Doyle, from Shoreline, is the resident veterinarian. The clinic is open Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Costs for spay/neuter for feral cats is $30 for males and $40 for females. Dogs less than 50 pounds are $60 for both genders.

The clinic doesn't spay or neuter dogs more than 50 pounds.

Low-income families need to fill out an application to have their pets spayed or neutered, which can be found online at www.preventhomelesspets.com.

To make an appointment, call 509-375-4024.

-- Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; doneal@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @dorioneal

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