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Pet foundation fails to provide mobile clinic


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POSTED: Friday, March 06, 2009

Question: Can you please find out when the new spay/neuter mobile van is scheduled to start? The Animal Care Foundation won the Neuter Now contract because, in addition to a lower cost, they promised to provide sterilization surgeries out of a mobile van servicing all of Oahu. ACF had given a start date of March 1, but I called their Hawaii Kai clinic on Feb. 26 and was told that the van has not even been shipped from the mainland yet! In my opinion, the contractor is not performing as promised. When will the city step in and reinstate the old program using certificates and the pet owner's own veterinarian?

Answer: It's still not certain when the mobile clinic will arrive from the mainland and begin servicing communities away from Hawaii Kai.

“;We are (concerned), and we have been working diligently, closely with (Animal Care Foundation) to ensure that some of the things (it) said would be provided will actually be available,”; Dana Takahara-Dias, head of the city Department of Customer Services, said yesterday.

Before the mobile unit could be shipped from the mainland, the vendor required a signed contract, she said. That document was provided by the city on Feb. 4, two days after the effective date of the contract.

Animal Care Foundation officials are “;still telling us it's en route,”; Takahara-Dias said of the mobile unit. “;I know now they are quite busy with their clinic in Hawaii Kai, but many pockets in many communities have been wondering and inquiring when (the mobile unit) will be available in their neighborhood.”;

Dr. Sabina De Giacomo, chief executive officer of Animal Care Foundation, said yesterday “;we're really close”; to having the mobile unit shipped in and on the road.

But she said it will be about two more weeks before she would be able to provide details and give a more definitive answer.

Spay and neuter surgeries — about 10 a day, five days a week, since the beginning of February — are being done at the foundation's Hawaii Kai clinic.

Additionally, De Giacomo said people can call and put their names on a waiting list for surgeries once the mobile clinic begins its rounds. Call 396-3333.

The Hawaiian Humane Society had held the city contract to provide spay/neuter services for 22 years.

However, ACF was awarded a $300,000, one-year contract based mainly on its lower bid, so the spay/neuter service would be provided at a lower cost to the city, Takahara-Dias said.

“;We've had our share of inquiries”; about the current lack of islandwide service, she acknowledged.

But because Animal Care Foundation is a “;first-time vendor,”; the city is “;trying to work with them”; to get going, including helping with certificates and brochures.

“;However, they need to come up with a management plan,”; laying out the locations and times the mobile unit will be in various communities, Takahara-Dias said.

After having the Humane Society provide the service, with 18 veterinarians participating islandwide, for decades, “;it is an adjustment, and we appreciate the public's cooperation and patience,”; Takahara-Dias said.

Under the Animal Care Foundation, the cost to sterilize a male or female dog is $56.81, and for a male or female cat, $35.50.

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