SAN ANTONIO – A city-controlled spay and neuter clinic on the South Side is expected to reopen this summer after months of decreased or non-existent operations.
The San Antonio City Council approved a new agreement Thursday for the Spay-Neuter Assistance Program to operate the Brooks Spay and Neuter Clinic. SNAP will perform 6,500 low-cost or free surgeries per year at the facility in the 8000 block of City Base Landing.
Though the city controls the Brooks facility and a second clinic near the zoo, it hires nonprofits to actually operate them.
The San Antonio Humane Society had operated the Brooks clinic for six years, until Feb. 1. Though, even before that point, Animal Care Services said the nonprofit had reduced its operations for much of 2022.
“They were reducing from several days a week to down to one or two or three days a week,” said Shannon Oster-Gabrielson, assistant to the ACS director. “They were just not performing as many surgeries. They were trying to refocus their staff at their clinic - I believe it’s on the North Side - to consolidate.”
ACS statistics showed SAHS’s surgeries dropped off some in the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.
SAHS spokeswoman Kim Hinze told KSAT that staffing issues had been a universal problem. She said it was a separate issue from the nonprofit’s decision to focus on medical operations at its main campus on Fredericksburg Road, which she said was “centrally located.”
In any case, the result was the shuttering of a clinic on the South Side, which Oster-Gabrielson said is “in desperate need of services, especially having low-cost vet services.”
There’s a national veterinarian shortage, she said, and the clinic’s closure impacted the city’s overpopulation of dogs.
Oster-Gabrielson said ACS hopes to have a specific plan for reopening the clinic by June 1 but said it “would be this summer.”
“It’s going to be a phased opening because they still have to hire staff and ramp up their operations and make sure they have all the necessary supplies,” she said.
“So it’s going to be a phased opening and we’ll make sure we do something big for the South Side.”