Based in Richmond, Va, Catherine is a freelance writer specializing in stories about the arts, parenting, health and wellness, aging, and fascinating people.

The Roanoke Valley SPCA


According to Jennifer McFarling, DVM, the medical director of the Roanoke Valley SPCA, the organization’s mission is “to create, through the power of adoption, prevention and intervention, a community where there are no homeless cats or dogs.” By developing the foster program, the Pets Eat Too program, and community education programs, the SPCA has helped animal populations throughout the community.

In 2010, the SPCA added humane spay-neuter clinics in Christiansburg and in Roanoke to its services. According to Dr. McFarling, these clinics “primarily reach pets from low-income households, pets from rescue groups, and stray cats.” Since the clinic’s opened, the SPCA has performed more than 55,000 surgeries.

The Mobile Clinic

This year, the SPCA used a generous donation to convert the Roanoke Mountain View Spay-Neuter Clinic into a mobile clinic. This 35-foot-long wheeled unit contains 22 holding cages and a surgery suite. It is staffed by a team of three medical providers: Janice Annis, DVM, veterinarian, Melissa Crowder, a licensed veterinary technician, and Dominique Hunter, a veterinary assistant.

Benefits of Spaying and Neutering Pets

The Roanoke Valley SPCA firmly believes in the many benefits of spaying and neutering pets. Most importantly, preventing unwanted litters reduces cases of pet homelessness and euthanasia. “In addition to helping to fight pet overpopulation,” says Dr. McFarling, “there are also many health benefits to spaying and neutering pets: we help pets live longer lives, prevent them from wandering, and improve their behavior. It is also cost-effective to have one surgery rather than multiple litters.”


Spaying and neutering services range from $55 to $80, depending on species and gender. As the clinic grows, the SPCA hopes to offer discounted services based on grants.

Dr. Annis performs surgeries on publicly owned animals at the mobile clinic on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The clinic is parked in a number of public access areas, such as churches and libraries, in Roanoke City and County, in Salem, and in Botetourt, Bedford, Craig, Floyd, Alleghany, and Rockbridge Counties. After scheduling surgery, pet owners can drop their dogs or cats off at the appointed location in the morning and pick them up in the afternoon with instructions for post-surgery care.

Pet owners can learn more about the Roanoke Valley SPCA’s Mobile Spay/Neuter & Pet-Wellness Clinic from its website, at, or by contacting the mobile clinic at The website offers online scheduling and information on surgery and resources for public assistance.

With the mobile clinic, the SPCA hopes to prevent even more cases of pet homelessness and euthanasia. “With scheduled stops at locations throughout Roanoke City and Roanoke County and the greater Roanoke Valley area, the mobile clinic allows us to have an ongoing presence and a real impact in the communities where people live their lives,” explains Dr. McFarling. “To show compassion to humans as well as animals and extend resources where needed can create long-term and meaningful social change.”

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