Home Transportation HELP Clinic raising funds for new transport vehicle

HELP Clinic raising funds for new transport vehicle

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HELP Spay Neuter

The Snip Ship carried pets from surrounding counties to and from spay/neuter surgeries at the HELP Clinic. The vehicle was destroyed in a crash that killed its longtime driver. The HELP Clinic is holding a fundraiser to replace the vehicle.

The HELP Spay Neuter Clinic is raising funds to buy a new transport vehicle, which will enable the low-cost clinic to provide even more surgeries for pets in surrounding counties.

Though based in Coweta, the clinic provides low-cost spay and neuter services to 12 counties, and picks up and drops off pets from Butts, Meriwether, Lamar, Henry, Spalding, Upson and Pike counties.

That’s where the “Snip Ship” came in, picking up pets from a centralized location in those counties, taking them to the clinic for their surgeries, and returning them home the next day.

But on March 18, as longtime transport driver Todd Shaddix was heading back from Upson County, a dump truck crossed in front of him. Shaddix was killed and the vehicle was destroyed.

Shaddix had been driving the transport since 2012, and had been volunteering with Newnan-Coweta Humane Society since the mid-90s, said Cindy Leopard, HELP Clinic manager. He also took care of maintenance and grounds.

“He was the one you called for everything,” she said. “He was a tremendous treasure to all of the pet community in all of the counties we serve.”

A memorial will be planned for a time when everyone can gather, Leopard said. The clinic closed down temporarily after Shaddix’s death, and then shut down because of Gov. Brian Kemp’s shelter-in-place orders. The clinic began operating again May 4.

The clinic had a backup van that was repaired and is now on the road, but is not ideal, Leopard said. Sometimes they had to rent U-Haul vans to do transport, and sometimes transport had to be canceled.

With the fundraiser and the insurance money from the wrecked vehicle, the clinic hopes to be able to buy a bigger and better transport vehicle that will be able to carry many more animals. Instead of an RV converted to carry pets, it will be designed so that pets can stay in their crates, which will be secured to the vehicle.

It has rear heat, air-conditioning, and is open between the cab and box so that the driver or co-pilot can easily check on the animals. It will also make loading and unloading easier.

The new vehicle can hold over 30 pets; the current one fits about 15.

While the clinic gets a lot of patients from Coweta, the extra volume from the transports is critical to the clinic’s operations. “We could get a smaller van, but that is not going to support high volume,” Leopard said.

The clinic offers low-cost surgeries and add-on services, and offers monthly specials on surgeries, as well as low-cost vaccines on certain days.

The clinic normally offers financial assistance for those who qualify, though the clinic isn’t currently able to accept financial assistance requests. Residents of Henry and Butts counties may qualify for assistance through their local organizations.

Since it opened in 2010, the clinic has performed over 56,000 surgeries, Leopard said. If just half of those people donated $1, the fundraiser would be a success.

“Please donate – every dollar counts – and let’s continue serving this region and put an end to homeless pets and senseless euthanasia,” Leopard said.

Any money collected over what is needed for the new vehicle will go towards providing spay and neuter for pets of low-income families.

To donate, visit https://bit.ly/3dOx1cv or mail a check to HELP Spay Neuter Clinic, Snip Ship Fund, 12 The Crescent, Newnan, GA 30263.

For more information about the HELP clinic, visit helpspayneuter.org .

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