At the Spay Neuter Network’s clinic June 30, the waiting room included a very nervous German shepherd puppy named Mikah, sitting patiently on a chair while his owner, Lisa Garcia, filled out his vaccination paperwork.

Mikah was one of several pets getting vaccinated for the first time, thanks to a low-cost program offering distemper and parvo vaccines for only $10 in June, half the usual price offered by the clinic. 

“I just got this dog, and he doesn’t have any of his shots,” Garcia said. “I called the vet’s office, and they didn’t have any appointments.”

Vaccination appointments aren’t required at the Spay Neuter Network clinic. Instead, the network announces clinic dates and times in advance, and people can bring as many pets as they need to get vaccinated. 

Now, the network is hoping to turn low-cost vaccinations into no-cost vaccinations. 

It has applied for $200,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funding from Tarrant County, with the goal of providing vaccines for 1,000 pets. Veterinary care was one of many things that went on the backburner for people during the pandemic, said Jordan Craig, executive director of the network, particularly for elderly residents who feared serious illness or death.

“I’ve got two elderly parents, and they’ve always had their pets’ shots up to date, but they were terrified,” Craig said. 

With ARPA funding, Spay Neuter Network intends to fund 20 no-cost vaccine clinics over 12 months. Many of the clinics would be outside, Craig said, helping ease anxiety around COVID-19 transmission. If Tarrant County only awards the network $100,000, she said, the network will still be able to give free vaccines; if it awards the full $200,000, the network will also be able to provide free flea, tick and heartworm medication.

“We’re planning to target different areas of need, like food pantries,” she said. “We already have an outreach person that goes to a lot of those areas and talks to people that are already seeking assistance, but we will also target things like the YMCA or other places where there may be older populations having contact.”

Tarrant County is accepting applications for the funds through three proposal categories: improving public health, revitalizing the economy and strengthening the community. Spay Neuter Network applied for the strengthening the community category, with a subgoal of providing support to the aging population. Sixty-one other organizations have applied for funds in the same category. 

Craig said they got the idea to apply for ARPA funding after hosting many no-cost vaccine clinics in Dallas, and hearing from Fort Worth residents about the need locally. 

“A lot of people seem very upset and frustrated that we didn’t have the same accessibility in Fort Worth,” she said. “So we started looking around and said, ‘How can we do this?’ Because the city of Dallas and Friends of Dallas Animal Services is supporting the funding for the Dallas one. So we started looking at what availability there might be for funding specifically for Fort Worth and Tarrant County and the ARPA funds came to our attention and we saw it was absolutely applicable.”

The network’s clinics aren’t a dogs-only club, either. Margeaux Chase brought her three cats, Choco, Frank and Orange, to the June 30 clinic for their annual vaccines as well.

“I fostered for the humane society and ended up falling in love with the three kittens I agreed to foster,” Chase said. The humane society recommended the Spay Neuter Network for vaccines, and she’s been bringing her animals there ever since.

“It’s very low cost for something you need annually,” Chase said. “Vet clinics want to charge two to three times that. When you have a lot of animals, it makes a difference.”

Do your pets need vaccines? Spay Neuter Network has several low-cost clinics for cats and dogs in July.

3117 E Seminary Drive, Fort Worth, TX 76119

  • July 18, 19, 20, 21
  • 10 a.m.-2 p.m.                                                                                              
  • Affordable vaccines for dogs and cats.  The FVRCP combo vaccine for cats will be only $10

102 E Trunk St., Crandall, TX 75114

  • July 1, 7, 14, 15, 21, 22, 28, 29
  • 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • Affordable vaccines for dogs and cats.  The FVRCP combo vaccine for cats will be only $10

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Emily WolfGovernment Accountability Reporter

Emily Wolf is a local government accountability reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Originally from Round Rock, Texas, she spent several years at the University of Missouri-Columbia majoring in investigative...