In an ambitious endeavour, a group of Central Victorian residents have come together to establish a Regional Community Vet Clinic (RCVC).
The goal of this clinic is to support people who are experiencing dire financial situations to care for their companion animals, to run neutering programs and to support and promote the value of companion animals in the community.
RCVC recently secured state government funding to turn its goal into a reality.
“We are just in the very early stages,” says founding member James Mack of Castlemaine.
“One of the first stages of our plan is to raise funds to set up a non-profit veterinary clinic on land associated with Campbells Creek Community Centre”.
A clinic at this site will be an opportunity to assist people experiencing financial hardship in accessing preventative veterinary care.
“This care could be a game-changer for many people who have a tight bond with their animals but just cannot afford the veterinary care required by their animals. For some people, their animals are their lifeline and not to be able to afford care for their loved one can be devastating,” explains James.
As well as providing non-profit community vet care, RCVC will also be a place for the community to come together to support neutering programs. Neutering programs are proactive interventions that work to curb cat colonies while maintaining healthy environments for both the cats and the community in an attempt to reduce disease and unwanted kittens.
Through generous community donations and the offer to run a program in a local vet clinic, an inaugural community vet neutering day was run by RCVC. On a cold Sunday in May, volunteers came together to help with the desexing of 31 cats. The cats came through local independent rescuers from colonies and farms from Maryborough to Maldon; eight female cats were spayed while 23 males were castrated.
Robyn from Maldon, a founding member of RCVC, explains, “Neutering programs are so effective. Every female cat has the potential to birth 6 to 10 kittens a year; by six months, each of these kittens can start reproducing their own litters of kittens. The population growth is exponential, and you can see how cat colonies can get out of control”.
She goes on to say, “It’s fantastic to think the eight cats spayed during this program prevented up to 200 unwanted kittens from being born in the next 12 months”.
RCVC is a grass-roots community program that has a big goal to assist people living at or below the poverty line in regional communities, which prevents them from providing the care their animal requires.
Founding member Dr. Yvette Berkeley from McKenzie Hill says, “the goal includes providing access to preventative health veterinary services, running neutering programmes, and also supporting companion pet care in people’s homes. We believe in the power of pets to help people to maintain their independence, well being, and general health. Promoting the well-being of pets directly affects the health and well-being of people”.
RCVC has three key activities planned for the next 12 months:
Fundraising activity to raise the additional $200,000 needed to complete the build.
Seeking expressions of interest from practising veterinarians who are interested in contributing their time to procedures at the clinic when open.
Hosting community events and information sessions both to support the clinic but also to educate about responsible pet ownership across the region.
In the meantime, RCVC invites anyone who is interested in contributing or would like to know more about the organisation and its mission to write to them at email@example.com, call 0493 447 394 or visit www.rcvc.org.au and sign up for the newsletter or visit https://rcvc.org.au/donate/ directly to donate to the cause.
This article appeared in the Tarrangower Times, 10 June 2022.
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