Saturday, May 25, 2024

Record-breaking clinic draws record-breaking numbers


OKANOGAN – The large demand for affordable spay and neuter services for Okanogan County pet owners was one of the big takeaways from The Big Fix, a free spay/neuter clinic that completed a four-day run at the Okanogan Fairgrounds Agriplex last week.

From the moment the clinic kicked off its 7:30 a.m. first-come registration on Tuesday, May 6, it was evident that it was going to be a race for pet owners to grab an available spot before the day’s quota of 250 animals was met. On opening day, that capacity was reached by 6:45 a.m., nearly an hour before the official start.

Those who missed out that first day understood that a special effort – like camping all night in the parking lot – was needed if they hoped to compete with the overwhelming demand for an appointment.

Photos posted on the TOAR Facebook online show person after person who really cares for and cares about an animal that is more than just a pet; it’s a cherished member of the family. These are folks who drove long distances and waited for hours in discomfort just to do the right and responsible thing for something they love.

  • Despite the fact that Team Okanogan Animal Rescue (TOAR) hosted the largest clinic of its kind in the state’s history, 
  • despite the fact that the Good Fix team of veterinarians, vet techs, and trappers have taken their services to areas of urgent need around the world,
  • despite the fact that more than 1,000 area cats and dogs were altered by a team of efficient, practiced professionals, there were many who tried but were left disappointed because they were turned away.

Measured by the typical costs to spay or neuter one cat or dog that range from $75 to $200, The Big Fix conservatively saved county pet owners from $75,000-$200,000, and that is not counting vaccination fees saved.

Among the crew of veterinarians working with the project was a vet with local roots, Dr. Miranda Cleveland, DVM. The 2014 Okanogan High School graduate was raised in Okanogan County and graduated WSU in 2022. The TOAR Facebook site noted that while Dr. Cleveland lives elsewhere, she volunteered to return to her home county to work with the Big Fix crew. 

Among TOAR’s next major goals is building a county shelter to help meet the needs of its homeless or abused animals.

“At this time, we have not identified a suitable building or land parcel to construct a shelter,” a TOAR spokesperson told The Quad recently. “Our goal is still to open a safe, humane facility.”

Mike Maltais: 360-333-8483 or


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