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Spay-neuter clinic set to reopen in Chicago Heights

Sarah Albers Fester 13 Flossmoor takes kitten out its cage South Suburban Humane Society Chicago Heights.  |  Casey

Sarah Albers Fester, 13, of Flossmoor, takes a kitten out of its cage at the South Suburban Humane Society in Chicago Heights. | Casey Toner~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 21, 2014 6:02AM



Legendary game show host Bob Barker surely would approve of what the Chicago Heights-based South Suburban Humane Society has been up to.

Barker in 1995 established an organization, the DJ&T Foundation, that for years funded low-cost spay/neuter clinics and voucher programs as a way to help relieve animal overpopulation, according to the foundation’s website.

With a new lease and a bigger building, the South Suburban Humane Society’s spay-and-neuter clinic is scheduled to reopen Feb. 1 in a 2,500-square-foot site at 129 E. Joe Orr Road in Chicago Heights.

Emily Klehm, the South Suburban Humane Society’s executive director, said the former site, 18349 Halsted St., Glenwood, closed Nov. 28.

Klehm said the new location, in the Olympia Plaza shopping center, will draw more foot traffic and includes a better lease. The clinic first opened in 2008.

“It’s bigger, and more importantly, the plaza is more maintained,”she said.

At the clinic, a veterinarian typically completes as many as 30 spay or neuter surgeries per day. All cat surgeries cost $30, while a spay surgery for a dog can cost up to $100 for a 100-pound dog.

Klehm said the surgeries are needed to control animal populations as well as to eliminate certain health issues among pets, including testicular cancer, ovarian cancer and other reproductive diseases and disorders. The surgery also can tame aggression among dogs and keep cats from wandering, she said.

“It creates a much better pet for you,” she said.

PetSmart Charities started the clinic with a $60,000 grant, and Barker’s DJ&T Foundation donated $30,000 to the clinic.

Klehm called herself a “big fan” of Barker for spreading awareness about the importance of spay/neuter programs.

“Spaying and neutering wasn’t in the American vocabulary until he used it as a tagline for ‘The Price is Right,’ ” she said. “What other pop culture reference is there to spay and neutering? None.”

The South Suburban Humane Society has an annual budget of $1.4 million and provides shelter and coordinates adoptions for up to 6,000 cats and dogs a year.



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