Changes in store for Honolulu's ‘Neuter Now Program' - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Changes in store for Honolulu's ‘Neuter Now Program'

Frank De Giacomo Frank De Giacomo
Dr. Jamie Wicklund Furutani Dr. Jamie Wicklund Furutani

By Leland Kim - bio | email

MILILANI MAUKA (KHNL) - Starting next month, there are some major changes for pets and their owners.   The City and County of Honolulu's "Neuter Now Program" is in new hands.  Before, multiple clinics on the island could spay and neuter pets, but now only one facility can perform the operation.

Dr. Jamie Wicklund Furutani is an animal lover and a veterinarian.  When the Animal Care Foundation takes over the city's "Neuter Now Program" next month, she will no longer neuter and spay cats and dogs.

"It was a sudden change that we weren't prepared for so we're trying to make some changes at the clinic," said Dr. Furutani.

Up until now, the Hawaiian Humane Society was in charge of this program.  It had 13 participating clinics all over the island that could neuter pets.  Starting next month, one clinic is in Hawaii Kai is in charge of it.

"The main concern is animal welfare," said Dr. Furutani.  "Who is going to do the surgery?  How many pets are going to be done?  How are the procedures going to be done?"

This means if a pet in Mililani has complications, its owner has to drive them all the way to Hawaii Kai to the animal care foundation for treatment.

To make it easier, they will incorporate a mobile clinic at different parts of the island, one week at a time.

"It's a half million dollar state of the art mobile veterinary clinic and it's that much because of the veterinary equipment in it," said Frank De Giacomo, vice-president of the Animal Care Foundation.  "It has everything a clinic would have except X-ray."

And it will reach underserved pet populations.

"If they're worried about pet overpopulation then they have to think about that we're going to be neutering dogs on the beach," said De Giacomo.

This kitten is one of 4,000 pets neutered at the animal care foundation each year.  Now with "Neuter Now Program," they expect that number to jump to 10,000.  They have one full-time veterinarian, two part-time, and they're hoping to hire another full-time to handle the increased load.

"We don't rush surgery here and we'd hope that that would be the same quality of care that they'd get there," said Dr. Furutani.

She says pet owners can be proactive to make sure their loved ones get the care they need by asking the right questions.

"Is there pre-op blood work, is a physical done prior to surgery?" said Dr. Furutani. "What kind of pain medicines are given?  What kind of facility is my dog going to wake up in?  Is someone going to be watching it?  And who's going to monitor the pet after?

Questions and answers about the changes in the "Neuter Now Program."

$300,000 is budgeted for this program.  Last year, $250,000 was allocated, and in 2007, it was $205,000.

The decision to go with the Animal Care Foundation instead of the Hawaiian Humane Society was a cost issue and not a quality of care issue, according to Dana Takahara-Dias, director of the Honolulu Department of Customer Services. The new contract is good for 12 months.

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