CLINTON — Students at the University of Illinois’s College of Veterinary Medicine are set to get some practical experience in DeWitt County thanks to an agreement between the county and the school.
The county board approved an agreement allowing a mobile surgical unit from the college to perform spay and neutering services, as well as other veterinary services, on pets for local low income residents. Residents using the service will have to provide proof of low income status, said Lance Reece, chairman of the county public safety committee.
“This isn’t for everybody in the county,” Reece emphasized. “It’s not a low-cost veterinary service. It’s for low income, and they’ve got to be certified to use it.”
In September 2018, then public safety chairman Cris Rogers reported the U of I had approached him about using the DeWitt County animal shelter for the service.
Rogers said the U of I received money from state and federal programs, and then they could determine where to offer services. Representatives of the program asked to meet with Rogers in Clinton to talk about the service.
“They are very interested in DeWitt County, and I am very interested in what they can offer us,” Rogers said in September.
The program uses a mobile veterinary vehicle capable of performing surgical procedures on animals. Students of the U of I veterinary school would perform much of the work. The animal surgical facilities of the county animal shelter also could be used in conjunction with the mobile unit.
The veterinary students also would spay and neuter animals held at the shelter.
“From what I understand, they would like to hold their first visits here the first of February,” Reece said.
“This was something Mr. Rogers started several months ago,” he said.
Reece said the contract was scrutinized by state’s attorney Dan Markwell, “and, he’s fine with it.”
The agreement is for five years, based on the duration of the grant that is paying for the program.