HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Hattiesburg and Petal veterinarians are unhappy with the amount of business they are losing to the Southern Pines Animal Shelter Spay and Neuter Clinic and are looking to limit the services.
Monday they tried to push for a vote at the shelter's annual board meeting that would limit the services to low income people only.
Supporters of the shelter have been expressing their displeasure with the area vets on the Southern Pines facebook page. They were reacting to the actions the vets took Monday evening at the meeting.
It was said that every vet in Hattiesburg was at the meeting. They called for a motion that would that would restrict the services to spay and neuter services only for people who have proof of low income. The vets argued that by being a non-profit the clinic has a distinct competitive advantage over the private veterinarians.
"We feel like it is not a fair competition or a level playing field and also we feel that there are resources that are being used for people who can afford veterinarian services being taken up that could be used for the people that it is intended for," said Doctor Kirk Frazier, Shelter Board Member and Area Veterinarian.
Frazier says because the clinic has non-profit status they have advantages private veterinarians do not such as grants from charitable organizations, subsidies from municipalities, and donations from private donors.
"We don't want to appear as if we want to stop the Spay and Neuter Clinic," said Frazier. "Every veterinarian in town has said the clinic is a good thing. We would just like to limit them to what they said they were going to do when they first opened up."
The shelter board chairman denied the vets motions for a vote because it would change the board bylaws and because they do have a number of grants that prohibit them from limiting the services based on income.
The veterinarians had hoped their actions Monday would have lead to a dialogue and compromise that would benefit both parties. Instead they said they got anger. They say they have reached out and would like to meet to work out the differences so that both can work together and help solve the over population problem.
"We have held meetings for the last year with a veterinarian on the board and any of those monthly meetings would have been a great time to start a dialogue rather than waiting for our annual membership meeting," said James Moore, Shelter Board Spokesperson. "I'm certainly willing to sit down and talk with the veterinarians in the community, but our mission is to reduce euthanasia. Our mission is not to create a financial level playing field."
Frazier acknowledged a motion was made to remove him from the shelter board. Moore did not comment saying it was ongoing internal business.