Humane Alliance Spay/Neuter School Expands

A $1.5 million grant from PetSmart Charities increases spay/neuter training opportunities for veterinarians and veterinary students.


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Veterinary students get hands-on experience at the new Humane Alliance Spay/Neuter Training Center in Asheville, N.C.

A clinic designed to teach spay and neuter procedures to hundreds of veterinarians and fourth-year veterinary students each year opened Tuesday in Asheville, N.C.

The Humane Alliance Spay/Neuter Training Center, which was funded through a $1.5 million grant from PetSmart Charities, features six surgical bays and enough kennels to accommodate 140 feline and canine patients.

The host, Humane Alliance, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching high-volume, low-cost sterilization techniques.

“The support of PetSmart Charities allows us to increase the number of veterinarians who will take back new skills to their community to save more pets and make an impact nationwide,” said Quita Mazzina, executive director of Humane Alliance.

The 12,400-square-foot training center includes office space for 16 staff members. A separate, 2,200-square-foot dormitory houses up to 20 students.

PetSmart Charities, the charitable arm of the Phoenix-based PetSmart chain, has given more than $4.5 million to Humane Alliance since 2010.

“When organizations come together and collaborate as we’ve done with Humane Alliance, the results can be transformational,” said Julie White, the charity’s senior director of programs, grants and field initiatives.

Humane Alliance has helped create a network of 137 low-cost spay/neuter clinics in 40 states and Canada.

One such clinic in Phoenix is operated by the nonprofit group Altered Tails, which charges $65 to $85, plus the cost of pain medication, to neuter a dog. Canine spaying starts at $75, and sterilizing a pet cat ranges from $35 to $50.

“Since our certification, we have sterilized over 35,000 animals, an increase of 61 percent, and have thus prevented the needless euthanasia of hundreds of thousands of animals,” said Ellen Clark, executive director of Altered Tails Barnhart Clinics. “This training energized our staff, improved our workflow and increased our efficiency while allowing us to continue to provide compassionate care for animals.”

The new training center in Asheville complements a 13,000-square-foot facility that taught sterilization techniques and doubled as a community spay/neuter clinic. More than 470 veterinarians and 380 students representing 41 states and eight countries have been trained at Humane Alliance, said project manager Aimee St. Arnaud.

The expansion will reduce a space crunch that led to more than a third of all veterinary applicants being turned away, St. Arnaud said. So many externs have applied to Humane Alliance that student training slots are booked through May 2016, she added.

Tuition is waived for students, who pay $50 to stay in the dormitory. Training for veterinarians costs $500.

The classes offer continuing education credits and run from one to four days, depending on the skills sought.

More information is available at HumaneAlliance.org/vet-training.

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