Army Reserve Soldiers Donate Time for Spay/Neuter Clinic

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On June 8th, in Arkansas, members of  the 431st Civil Affairs Battalion, Little Rock, Arkansas, and 4220th U.S. Army Hospital, Shoreham, New York began a free spay/neuter clinic for cats and dogs as part of Joint Task Force Razorback, an eleven-day Innovative Readiness Training event.

The Humane Society of the Delta sponsored the appointment-only event and by the end, 103 dogs and 85 cats will be spayed and neutered. “We’ve never had anything like the Army to come in and say, ‘we just want to do it for free,’” said Kate Freres, Humane Society of the Delta director. Freres went on to say the Humane Society does offer free clinics year-round, but they are only free to the public — the Humane Society ends up absorbing all the costs. “We have to either pay for it or get grants for it. It’s free to the community, but it’s not free to us,” she said. She went on to say most of the available grants go to organizations struggling to build a new shelter. And in the heart of the Arkansas Delta Region, there is little money to be had. On top of the monetary issues, the county has only one veterinarian, so the Army’s offer of the free clinic was truly a gift to the community.

“It’s a good feeling to be able to do something for other Americans,” said Major Kristie Souders, both a veterinarian with the 4220th and a civil veterinarian in downtown Manhattan. “It’s nice to go to other countries and help them out but I think it has a special meaning to be able to do something for somebody else in our own country.” She went on to express that this type of training event is good for the American people because it lets them see another side of the military. “I think a lot of them probably didn’t know we had a veterinarian component as far as our mission,” Souder said. “It lets them see that we care about the community.”

Freres gratefully agrees. “I want to cry because someone said they’re going to come here and provide free spays and neuters for eleven days,” Freres said. “It was breathtaking when I walked in here yesterday and saw all these men and women in uniform. I felt like family was here to help us.”

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