Surgery Suite on Wheels Travels to Half Moon Bay

People and their pets were lined up Wednesday morning in the Cameron's parking lot for the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA’s free mobile spay/neuter clinic.

When it was time to think about getting her Chihuahua puppy Goo-wee neutered, Christina Smith says she simply did a Google search for “low cost neuter” and found information about the Peninsula Humane Society’s (PHS/SPCA) mobile spay/neuter clinic in Half Moon Bay.

That low cost neuter option she found through the PHS turned out to be “even better than affordable, it's free,” she said.

The Peninsula Humane Society takes its mobile spay/neuter clinic to targeted Peninsula communities like Half Moon Bay, offering free spay/neuter surgeries for pet owners who might not otherwise be able to afford the procedure, which can cost $250 to $800 at a veterinarian’s office depending upon the size of the animal.

Through generous support from the San Francisco Bay Humane Friends, an auxiliary fundraising group, PHS/SPCA purchased the state-of-the-art mobile spay/neuter clinic to help people with limited financial means fix their pets. It is the only program of its kind in the Bay Area and helps prevent accidental litters which become a community problem and add to PHS/SPCA’s challenge of addressing companion animal overpopulation. Annually, PHS/SPCA alters approximately 1,000 dogs and cats through this mobile clinic program.

“We ask that pet owners let their moral compass guide them when it comes to our free clinics,” said Scott Delucchi, PHS senior vice president, community relations. “They were designed for pet owners who truly can't afford even a low-cost spay/neuter option, which we offer on-site at our 12 Airport Blvd., San Mateo location.” Fees at PHS’s low-cost spay/neuter clinic range from $50 to $150 and up depending upon the weight of the animal.

The free PHS/SPCA mobile clinics in Half Moon Bay are held at Cameron's on the 4th Wednesday of each month. The mobile clinic also goes every month to South San Francisco, Pacifica, Redwood City, and East Palo Alto (see the schedule at the end of this article).

Because Smith needed an affordable option to neuter her 10-month-old dog, she decided to give the free Wednesday clinic at Cameron’s a try.

“The timing worked well for me too because I have the day off from work today,” she said.

The surgery is offered on a first-come, first-served basis, no appointments are necessary. Admitting is from 8 to 9 a.m. and pick-up is in the afternoon on the same day.

By 8:15 a.m. a line was forming in the Cameron’s parking lot with pets and their owners waiting during the morning admitting hour.

“We’ll see a total of 13 dogs and cats today,” said Angela Washington, PHS registered vet technician.

That may seem like a lot, but the clinic in Half Moon Bay has not been well attended in the past, said Delucchi.

“We are certain many more dog and cat owners on the Coast could benefit from this free service, but they might not be aware of it,” he said.

To be eligible, dogs and cats must be between 4 months and 8 years of age and dogs must be less than 80 pounds. The PHS asks that pets fast from midnight on the night before surgery. Water is OK.

Call 650/340-7022, ext. 387 ahead of time as the PHS occasionally has to cancel a clinic.

Here’s a listing of the locations and times for the free mobile spay/neuter clinic:

• So. San Francisco (Orange Park parking lot) — 4th Thursday of each month
•  San Francisco (in front of Pet Camp, 525 Phelps Ave.) — 1st Thursday of each month
•  Pacifica (1850 Francisco Blvd.) — 2nd Saturday of each month
•  Redwood City (Fair Oaks Community Center parking lot, 2600 Middlefield Road) — 2nd Thursday of each month
•  East Palo Alto (Bell St. Park, 560 Bell Street) — 2nd Wednesday of each month
•  Half Moon Bay (Cameron's Inn parking lot, 1410 Cabrillo Hwy S,) — 4th Wednesday of each month

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