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PetPALS open house Oct. 30; organization addresses pet overpopulation

For 15 years, PetPALS has served the Highland Lakes by providing low-cost spay and neuter services and pet vaccinations. The nonprofit is inviting the community to visit its facility at 2003 RR West in Marble Falls to learn more about its efforts during a free open house from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30.

“We would love for people to come out to our open house,” said Susann Friedricks, president of the PetPALS board of directors. “We really haven’t had an open house in years, and we want to reintroduce ourselves to the community.”

The event includes free hot dogs and sodas, raffles, goodie bags, dog and cat rescue booths, and tours of the clinic.

PetPALS has worked to curb pet overpopulation in the Highland Lakes since it started in 2006.

“Our mission, what we are, is a low-cost spay and neuter clinic,” Friedricks said. “That means people with a companion animal can bring it to PetPALS and get it spayed or neutered at a substantially lower rate than if they went to a typical veterinarian office.”

The cost to spay or neuter a dog or cat at PetPALS is $65 to a little over $100, depending on the animal’s size. It can cost $200-$500 at a veterinarian’s office, Friedricks pointed out, which might make some owners balk at getting their pet spayed or neutered and, in turn, lead to litters of unwanted puppies and kittens.

PetPALS offers twice-a-month spay and neuter clinics as well as semi-annual low-cost vaccination clinics. It might seem like the organization is in competition with local veterinarians, but that’s not the case, Friedricks said. One of its goals is to encourage its clients to find a vet for their animal and keep up with its health care.

“It used to be a person wouldn’t darken the door of the vet clinic, partly because of the cost of spaying and neutering,” Friedricks said. “We’ve kind of taken that issue away. So, we want our clients to take their pets to the vet and build that relationship with them because it’s so important in their pet’s health.”

PetPALS is not a full-service veterinarian facility, so it does not offer annual checkups and emergency calls, making finding a vet even more important for pet owners.

A licensed veterinarian does all of the spay and neuter operations at PetPALS. Dr. Amanda Bruce is well-known for her high-volume spay and neuter clinics and services. She travels across the United States and around the world to help underserved communities.

“She’s such an incredible vet and person,” Friedricks said. “People ask why we charge for our services and just don’t do them free, but we charge because we pay a highly skilled technical staff to do the procedures, and they do a lot of them.”

Another mission of PetPALS is to educate people on pet ownership and care. 

“Everyone is invited to come out to our open house, get a look at what we do, and have a lot of fun,” Friedricks added.

Visit the PetPALS website for more information on upcoming clinics and services.