Nonprofit proposed spay-neuter clinics in Lawrence


A statewide animal services nonprofit has proposed setting up regular low-cost spay-neuter clinics for cats in the City of Lawrence.

Cheri Storms is executive director of Pet Friendly Services of Indiana. She gave a presentation March 4 to the Lawrence Common Council about the nonprofit’s services and the process for establishing clinics in the city.

Pet Friendly Services receives funding through the state’s special license plates program. Storms said that funding and other donations go toward free spay-neuter surgeries for Indiana animal shelters, rescue groups and community cat programs, as well as low-cost spay-neuter clinics for pets throughout the state.

‘We partner with 100 veterinarians to do the surgeries and we pay the bills,” she said. “One of those vets is a mobile clinic — its name is Public Vet. Last year in 2023, they held 130 spay-neuter clinics in 34 communities across our state. They fixed 12,030 cats.”

For the low-cost clinics proposed in Lawrence, the base cost for anyone who shows up to get their cat fixed is $100, she said. Low-income pet owners who qualify for vouchers through a Pet Friendly Services application process can get the service for as low as $25.

Storms said the clinics are popular, with people often waiting in long lines.

“It shows that people know to get their pets fixed,” she said. “They don’t always have access to low-cost spay-neuter.”

Storms said that the organization has helped set up clinics in Indianapolis but has not yet done any in Lawrence. She said they would like to use a local park that has a building suitable for the clinic’s needs.

She stressed that the proposed clinic would be for cats only.

“The reason why is because dogs — they’re a little more difficult,” she said. “People show up and they can bring their cats in carriers — most (cat) owners have a cat carrier. Most dog people don’t have a dog carrier because they put them on a leash. Dogs kind of get nervous. They kind of lose control. They tinkle, they do some stuff. It’s kind of messy. They also come in all different sizes, so the type of medicine that we need to have is different based on sizes, whereas cats are pretty much uniform in size. We do have some resources for where people can sign up to get their dogs fixed. But this is a cat clinic.”

In response to questions from the council, Storms said they could hold regular clinics in Lawrence, potentially once a month. They provide their own liability insurance and take care of all the setting up and cleaning after.

She said they also would like to partner with the community to spay and neuter cats that don’t have owners.

“Eventually, we’d start like to start working with the mobile home parks and that’s where we’re going to find a ton of cats because (that’s) great housing for cats — they love getting under those skirts,” she said, and while people living there often will feed the outdoor cats, they generally don’t own them or provide vet care.

For that kind of service, she said, they would ask the city to provide up to $2,000 per clinic.

The council took no action on the proposal, which is still in the preliminary stages.

The council tabled the only action item on the March 4 agenda — a proposal to change how the council approves expenditures and professional agreements.

The next Lawrence Common Council meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. March 20 at Lawrence Government Center, 9001 E. 59th St.