Published July 7, 2011

Rockys Rescues will provide free vaccinations and other services to dogs and cats Sunday in the San Leon and Bacliff area.

The Companion Animal Outreach Clinic will include vaccinations against parvo and distemper, a spay and neuter sign up, heartworm prevention, flea control and general pet care information, said Sarah Manns, who runs the rescue organization.

Rockys Rescues also will be giving away a free leash and collar to every pet owner until supplies run out. Owners who would like to bring their pets are asked to keep dogs on a leash and cats in carriers.

We truly are doing this for the animals, said Manns, adding that providing a single venue would better help the group reach the entire community.

Attendees will be required to visit each table and learn about the importance of spaying and neutering, flea and tick control, and other methods before receiving the free vaccines and other care.

This is the first year the program has been held. Manns and other members of Rockys Rescues conceived of the idea after going door to door offering pet owners vaccines, spay/neuter services and transportation to local clinics.

We just feel like were stumbling upon tragedy after tragedy, and so we put our heads together and thought if we do a companion animal outreach program we can serve a lot more people in one day, she said.

Another facet of the clinic will focus on ending the practice of chaining dogs.

The group has a limited number of dog trolleys to give out as an alternative to keeping animals tied up.

A lot of people chain their dogs up out here 24/7 with no food and no water, Manns said.

The dog trolley system attaches between two trees or poles and allows pets a better range of motion.

Manns said she hopes dog owners who brought their pets in for vaccines or to be spayed or neutered will consider trading chains for the less restrictive trolleys.

Were even going to go out and install them for free, but (owners) have to give up these big, heavy-gauge chains the poor animals are on, she said.

Manns got involved with animal outreach after learning area shelters had scant resources to deal with the sick and homeless animals she saw every day in her community, she said.

I called everybody begging for help, and there was just no help out there, she said. Everybody was just so inundated, so I started doing it myself.

Rockys Rescues has been providing free spay and neuter services since January. Manns said she even picked up animals from owners homes to take them into the clinic.

Manns also traps feral cats and to have them fixed but said the reproduction rate still poses a problem.

Ive trapped about 300 cats here in San Leon and Bacliff, and Ive hardly even made a dent, she said.

The clinic is being funded entirely through private donations, Manns said. She said that making the vaccinations and other services free enabled the entire community to participate, even if owners did not have the funds to protect their pets from illness or have them fixed.

The Companion Animal Outreach Clinic hopefully will serve as an example to other animal groups of possible solutions to what can seem like an insurmountable problem, she said.

What we are hoping is that other rescue groups will see what were doing and maybe get on board to try to help some of these other communities, Manns said.

The primary goal of the clinic is to educate pet owners, Manns said.

Were trying to give a hand up and not a hand out, she said. Were trying to teach people about the very basics of taking care of their pet.


At A Glance

WHAT: Companion Animal Outreach Clinic

WHEN: 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: The San Leon Volunteer Fire Department

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