The Washington County/Johnson City Animal Shelter is going to be expanding its footprint next year thanks to a generous donation that will pay for the construction of a 3,790-square-foot spay and neuter clinic on the shelter’s property.

The clinic will provide spay/neuter services for the general public, with a special focus on shelter animals, as shelter animals are not allowed to be adopted until they have been fixed. Currently, shelter animals have to wait at the shelter for an appointment at a local veterinarian’s office. The on-site clinic should greatly reduce wait times for those animals and, hopefully, decrease the total number of animals coming into the shelter over time.

“I’m so excited, you just have no idea,” Shelter Director Tammy Davis said. “I’ve been working on this for a long, long time and so it’s just super exciting to finally able to make the big announcement.”

Davis said she’s hopeful that the clinic, which will have its own staff, will open sometime next summer and help reduce the number of pets coming into the shelter long-term.

“Hopefully, being able to provide a low-cost option will encourage people and enable people to be able to spay and neuter their animals,” Davis said, “but, yes, we really think that this will, hopefully, decrease the number of animals coming into the shelter in the long run.”

Spaying or neutering animals reduces the overall animal population, and can also reduce certain animal behaviors and decrease an animal’s desire to roam, a press release from the city said. Animals that have been fixed also live longer than one’s that are not, and are protected from some types of cancer.

Two longtime supporters of the shelter, Judy and Doug Lowrie, donated the funds and have helped ensure thousands of cats and kittens have gotten fixed before being adopted. The Lowries also helped fund the shelter’s Trap-Neuter-Return program. Davis, in a press release, called the couple “dedicated advocates for the shelter,” while Animal Control Board President Jenny Brock said their impact has been significant.

“As long-time supporters of the shelter, Judy and Doug Lowrie’s support helped build the new state-of-the-art shelter in 2015,” Brock said in the release. “Their impact has been significant.”

Davis said the Lowries’ donation shows how important community support is for the shelter.

“It is huge,” Davis said. “We depend a lot on the community ... for financial donations that help us be able to provide medical care and preventative care for the animals that enter the shelter, and we depend on the community to help us be able to provide the food and supplies we need to be able to run the shelter.”

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