Jane Guillaume, Executive Director People for Animals, speaks about affordable veterinary care services in Millville.
Vineland Daily Journal
MILLVILLE – A groggy patient peered from the cat carrier passed to Christine Burlew during discharges Friday at the new People for Animals Inc. veterinary clinic on North High Street.
Learning of the non-profit agency’s clinic through Facebook, the Millville woman made a spay/neuter appointment for a cat she is offering a home. She joked it was also a gender reveal because she wasn’t sure of its sex.
“How are you doing,” she fussed over the black and white kitten while clinic staff reviewed post-op care instructions.
Pet owners pick up their animals in the parking lot at the People for Animals clinic in Millville on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. The facility offers affordable pet care including spay and neuter services to reduce the numbers of homeless animals in local shelters. (Photo: Adam Monacelli/The Daily Journal)
People for Animals Inc., the state’s leading spay/neuter provider, is now open and offering veterinary services that include vaccinations, microchipping, and wellness care.
“I think it’s awesome,” Burlew said.
People for Animals Inc., founded in 1980, operate three clinics strategically located in the northern, central, and southern regions of the state. Their mission is to reduce the number of cats and dogs that end up on the streets or in shelters by offering affordable vet care, advocating public policy and providing community outreach.
“This will provide healthcare to animals that otherwise would not have gotten it,” said Bob Clark of the Salem County Humane Society who was picking up four cats after surgeries. The society has an established partnership for spay/neutering services with People for Animals Inc.
“Last year, we cared for 35,000 animals statewide across about 86 percent of the municipalities,” said Jerry Rosenthal, the non-profit’s director of marketing and development.
Surgical fees for dogs range from $140 to $170 depending on sex and weight. For cats, it’s $95, with a low-cost option for those part of a trap, neuter, release program. Most vaccines run about $20 and microchipping is $15, which includes registration.
For the past five years, the non-profit organization leased space adjacent to the Gloucester County Animal Shelter in Clayton. When the lease expired in August, they sought guidance from longtime friend Bev Greco, the executive director of the South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter, who helped them determine their next move.
“We wanted to make a permanent commitment to South Jersey,” Rosenthal said. “We chose Millville because Cumberland County’s location offered easy access to Salem, Gloucester and Atlantic counties.”
They settled on a former medical office, located at 1001 N. High St., at the end of last year, but the coronavirus pandemic delayed some of the renovations. The new facility includes a surgical room, a recovery area and will have a private room for those who face putting down their pets to end suffering.
People for Animals Inc. opened its doors two weeks ago for a soft opening and started offering surgical services last week. They expect to average 20-25 surgeries on spay/neuter days.
The office, open for wellness services Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, is operating with enhanced safety protocols including limited lobby access due to COVID-19.
“Our phones have been ringing off the hook,” said Jane Guillaume, the agency’s executive director said. “There is definitely a lot of need but that’s exactly why we chose to be here.”
“It’s odd that this was an effect of COVID that no one predicted,” she said, noting many veterinary offices are also seeing an uptick in appointments.
“I don’t know what the reason is for it, but my guess is people are home with their animals so they are noticing more things, and more people have adopted because they were stuck at home,” Guillaume said.
People for Animals Inc. focuses on trying to remove barriers to affordable veterinary care.
There’s a humane trap lending program for those who want to participate in the trap, neuter, release program.
When they noticed transportation was an issue, the non-profit launched a spay shuttle service.
The medical transportation provides $5 round trips to spay/neuter appointments to those who reside within an hour’s journey of the clinic. (This is temporarily on hold due to Covid-19, but the staff says they hope to soon be back on the road.)
“One of the other things we discovered is the need, among lower-income pet owners, is dental care,” Guillaume said.
Dental issues can be expensive and impact an animal’s quality of life as well as length of life.
“We’ve already started raising funds for the equipment,” she said. “We’re hoping to launch that in January.”
It will be first offered in Millville and then rolled out to the other clinics.
“We make the best use that we can of the funding that is so generously given to us,” Guillaume said.
“We rely on our volunteers to donate their time to get a lot of these programs off the ground,” she said. “We have some very generous donors that support us, and the average guy on the street who add $2 or $3 to their spay/neuter fee – that adds up for us.”
They also pursue grant funding.
People for Animals welcomes volunteers, who must be at least 18 years old to work at the clinic.
“If you have a business skill of any kind, we will find a place for you here,” Guilluame said.
Another way the community can help is by donating supplies, which help keeps costs down. Among the most requested items are paper towels, hand soap, laundry detergent, bleach, and 55-gallon size trash bags.
The public is invited to stop by the grand opening celebration set for the 1 – 3 p.m. Oct. 10 where they may tour the facility, meet the staff, and connect with other animal welfare groups that offer services in this area. To contact the clinic, call 856-243-5211.
Deborah M. Marko is a senior reporter with The Daily Journal. Currently focused on breaking news and education issues, she also oversees community outreach programs that promote literacy and public safety. Got a story idea? Call 856-563-5256. Follow on Twitter: @dmarko_dj Instagram: deb.marko.dj Help support local journalism with a The Daily Journal subscription.
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