Monroe County Humane Association celebrates 1 year at animal care campus

Karen Parson hugs an anxious Clyde while waiting for test results at the Monroe County Association’s nonprofit veterinary clinic and outreach center on Wednesday. (Rich Ganzaruk/The Herald Times)

One year and 4,453 animals later served, the Monroe County Humane Society was able to celebrate the opening of its animal welfare campus this week.

In April 2020, MCHA opened a new facility to provide low-income pet owners with medical care and wellness, expanding its presence from its original campus in Richland Plaza and its mobile clinics. The facility is built on six acres of land at 791 S. Fieldstone Blvd. On the west side of Bloomington in 2019. The facility also contains a pet food pantry, donated and low-priced prescription medication for pets, and a shelter for animals whose owners are unable to look after for a variety of reasons – from fleeing domestic violence situations to declining health from owner.

“You see, MCHA isn’t a big nonprofit, but it’s very focused,” Valerie Pena, chair of the MCHA board, said during Monday’s ribbon-cutting event. “It’s a voice that hears the cries of our community through the animals and the people who love them and know their needs.”

Initially, MCHA offered vouchers to anyone with subsidized income to go to a vet, but officials realized the vouchers were not enough. MCHA decided to do simple medical care themselves at low cost, treating itchy skin and ears and other less serious conditions. This demand has even grown to amputations.

With the increase in pet ownership and the number of people in precarious financial situations, the already growing demand for MCHA services has increased. The number of veterinarians doubled, two more technicians and three receptionists were hired. CEO Rebecca Warren said the campus receives 200 voicemails per month.

Warren said 90% of clients have subsidized income, which means they show welfare documents upon arrival. Many clients often only have $20 or $40 to pay for care.

“One of the basic questions we ask clients when they get here, is ‘How many do you have to visit today? “We work with your budget. If your pet has many issues but you only have $40, we’ll start with the most important diagnostics and work our way down,” Warren said.

Each test chamber can be flooded with hose and features a drain hole, as well as soundproof walls to contain any barking or other loud noises. Behind the examination rooms are the x-ray facilities, dental care and surgery room. Of about $50,000 worth of surgery equipment, Warren said MCHA only had to purchase a third of the items, while the rest was donated from other clinics and veterinarians.

Warren said about 30 to 50 pets have been housed on animal care campuses for pet owners who are unable to care for their animals or who need a break. MCHA also has a behavioral specialist who assists antisocial animals and first-time pet owners who need education and resources.

While other veterinary clinics in the area turned away clients due to layoffs, Warren said the MCHA clinic was so busy that no one was laid off. Mobile health clinics have been set up throughout the year. This summer, a mobile clinic served about 200 animals in four days.

“Demand just kept being there for us,” Warren said.

Dr. Sarah Nicole listens to Rey's chest...# x002019;  s at the nonprofit Monroe County Humane Society Clinic and Outreach Center on Wednesday.  (Rich Ganzaruk/The Herald Times)

Sarah Nicole listens to Ray’s chest at the Monroe County Humane Society’s nonprofit veterinary clinic and outreach center on Wednesday. (Rich Ganzaruk/The Herald Times)

Maverick gets treatment for being well during a medical exam at the nonprofit Monroe County Humane Clinic, Veterinary Clinic and Outreach Center on Wednesday.  (Rich Ganzaruk/The Herald Times)

Maverick gets treatment for being well during a medical exam at the Monroe County Humane Society’s nonprofit veterinary clinic and outreach center on Wednesday. (Rich Ganzaruk/The Herald Times)

Ashley Bentley conducts a test at a nonprofit veterinary clinic and outreach center of the Monroe County Humane Society on Wednesday.  (Rich Ganzaruk/The Herald Times)

Ashley Bentley gives a test at the nonprofit Monroe County Association Veterinary Clinic and Outreach Center on Wednesday. (Rich Ganzaruk/The Herald Times)

Liz Austin cuts Tink's nails as Karen Parson holds him at the nonprofit Monroe County Humane Clinic and Outreach Center on Wednesday.  (Rich Ganzaruk/The Herald Times)

Liz Austin clips Tink’s toenails while Karen Parson holds him at the nonprofit Monroe County Community Veterinary Clinic and Outreach Center on Wednesday. (Rich Ganzaruk/The Herald Times)

A client heads to the Monroe County Humane Society's nonprofit veterinary clinic and outreach center on Wednesday.  (Rich Ganzaruk/The Herald Times)

A client heads to the Monroe County Humane Society’s nonprofit veterinary clinic and outreach center on Wednesday. (Rich Ganzaruk/The Herald Times)

Liz Austin holds Rey while Dr. Sarah Nicole listens to her chest at the Monroe County Association's Nonprofit Veterinary Clinic and Outreach Center on Wednesday.  (Rich Ganzaruk/The Herald Times)

Liz Austin holds Ray while Dr. Sarah Nicole listens to her chest at the Monroe County Humane Society’s nonprofit veterinary clinic and outreach center on Wednesday. (Rich Ganzaruk/The Herald Times)

Dr. Sarah Nicole examines Clyde while Karen Parson keeps his head at the nonprofit Monroe County Humane Society Clinic and Outreach Center on Wednesday.  (Rich Ganzaruk/The Herald Times)

Dr. Sarah Nicole examines Clyde while Karen Parson keeps his head still at the nonprofit Monroe County Association Veterinary Clinic and Outreach Center on Wednesday. (Rich Ganzaruk/The Herald Times)

Liz Austin cuts Dexter's nails while Karen Parson holds him at the nonprofit Monroe County Association's Veterinary Clinic and Outreach Center on Wednesday.  (Rich Ganzaruk/The Herald Times)

Liz Austin clips Dexter’s nails while Karen Parson holds him at a nonprofit Monroe County Community Veterinary Clinic and Outreach Center on Wednesday. (Rich Ganzaruk/The Herald Times)

This article originally appeared on The Herald-Times: Monroe County Humane Association Celebrates One Year on Animal Welfare Campus

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