I fully understand your point of view Hissy, and I apologize if I have offended anyone on this board with my rather passionate views.
This post came about at the same time as a rash of clients that seem to think that I along with my co-workers should al donate to their cause. These are not people that do rescue (for these people we always work something out), in fact they are the complete opposite. They are people that adopted kittens (free or otherwise) and then were surprised and offended when we actually tried to charge them for our services. This was not just one or two people- it seems like almost every person out there lately is looking for a handout!
How am I supposed to make people take resposibility for the animals they choose to have? How can you get someone to look ahead 3 or 4 months and plan for their pets health care?
To help combat the overpopulation problem our practice owner and the HS came up with an outreach program. We provide cut-rate prices to the HS for needy families. So the HS pays for the s/n at a very reduced rate (thus hospital and HS share cost of s/n) and the "needy" family gets a s/n for free. Exactly what Hissy is talking about- although it isn't a low-cost clinic the low- cost (FREE!) service is available. Great right?! WRONG.
So far I have had very well dressed (designer clothes), wearing expensive perfume, on-their-way-to-work people dropping pets off for their free s/n.
One lady brought her cat in a brand new top-of-the-line cat carrier that probably cost as much as the spay! Fine, whatever- if they want to abuse a charity and their concience will let them live with that fine. But they have learned nothing about responsible pet care!!!
One lady never brought her cat in for the free spay, now she has seven kittens. One of the kittens had an umbilical cord wrapped around its foot at birth and its foot fell off. She inundated us with panicked calls, wanted us to examine it for free (which I did for the kittens sake) then wanted us to treat it for free too! I made her sign the kitten over to us for treatment. Then she calls the next day because the mom has a skin problem, she schedules an exam, the Dr. sees it and perscribes meds, then on the way out she says she has no money and can't pay. Now my clinic is out the $$$ and the meds.
Another lady brings her "stray" cat in for a free neuter. (We later find out that she lied to the HS about the cat being a stray in order to get them to pay for it) Lady is wearing a rather large diamond on her finger. We neuter cat. Cat comes in one week later with an abcess. Lady is given estimate. Has no money. Threatens to leave cat on someones doorstep. HS is called and agrees to pay 1/2 of bill. Lady agrees to pay other half. We fix cat. Lady comes in to get cat- has no money for the measly sum left over. So basically the HS is paying for everything.
This has all occured in the last week.
When you give people free services for their cats it only re-inforces their belief that their cat isn't worth anything. SO if you spay and neuter for free- you'd better expect to do everything else for free too or have these same people dump their cats on your doorstep or worse, because free cats don't deserve veterinary care.