Over the past four years, the veterinary care center at Great Plains SPCA has been a lifesaver for thousands of pets.
When the Merriam-based organization was founded in 2011 through the merger of Animal Haven and No More Homeless Pets KC, it started offering affordable veterinary services, to the relief of grateful pet owners across the area.
Word of mouth spread like wildfire.
In 2011, its veterinary center treated 10,000 pets. By this year, that number had jumped to 35,000.
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There is one major problem, however: Donations haven’t matched the demand
Great Plains SPCA now faces a dire financial forecast. If funds aren’t raised quickly, pets in need of medical care will have to be turned away or some veterinary services will have to cease.
“This is very worrisome,” said Courtney Thomas, Great Plains SPCA president and CEO. “We have never been in this situation before and the last thing we want to do is discontinue our services. It would be devastating.”
There is some good news, however. Until Oct. 15, any donation made to the organization will be matched by an anonymous donor.
It’s called the Crisis Crossroads fundraiser and organizers hope it will entice people to be generous this month.
“The reality is, as a nonprofit organization, we can’t support our mission without donations,” Thomas said. “We don’t receive any funding from national organizations or any state or federal funding. Every single dollar used to care for pets comes from fundraising.”
The organization’s affordable veterinary care has made it a critical component of the Kansas City animal shelter scene.
Many pets are given away to animal shelters or simply left to die because a pet owner cannot afford to pay for necessary medical expenses, Thomas said.
Offering a veterinary procedure for $300, instead of $1,000, for example, makes a huge difference. Veterinary services include everything from advanced surgery to treating infections.
“Without us, many pets would suffer,” Thomas said.
The organization, which also has an adoption center in Independence, offers a lot more than veterinary services, however.
It provides behavioral training, phone and electronic pet care counsel, numerous programs, and also a pet food pantry. Last year, the pantry gave away 20 tons of pet food to pet owners in need.
“Lifesaving isn’t just about adoption,” Thomas said. “It’s also about preventing a pet owner from having to bring an animal to a shelter.”
Amid its financial strain, the organization currently has more than 1,200 animals in its shelter and its medical center serves 125 pets per day.
It recently received nearly 50 new additions.
In mid-September, Great Plains SPCA rescued 48 fluffy white American Eskimos pups and a cat from a puppy mill in Oak Grove. The animals were barely surviving in deplorable conditions, with little to no sign of available food or water, Thomas said. Many of them were diseased.
Thanks to some love and care, the dogs and cat are making a swift recovery and should be up for adoption soon.
It’s a ray of light for the organization despite the cloudy skies.
“We just really hope the community rallies around our efforts and helps us to keep transforming lives,” Thomas said.
Jennifer Bhargava: send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can help
To donate to Great Plains SPCA or find locations, visit www.greatplainsspca.org.