SIERRA VISTA — People started lining up before 8 a.m. Saturday to take advantage of free rabies vaccinations and microchipping for their dogs and cats.
Veterinarian Noble Jackson worked out of the Nancy J. Brua Animal Care Center’s new “One Paw at a Time” mobile unit parked at Highland Woods Apartments where 60 animals were signed up for the free services.
“The mobile unit has been working out nicely and everything is going smoothly,” Jackson said. “It’s only 9 a.m., and we’ve already seen about 35 animals, mostly dogs, but a few cats have been through here as well.”
Along with Highland Apartments, pet owners who are residents of Sierra Charles and Vista Village Apartments also were provided services through the mobile unit’s inaugural vaccination event.
Pebbles, an exuberant 3-month-old pitbull puppy owned by Ebwina Pearson, was there for her rabies shot and microchip.
“I think it’s great that the animal shelter is doing this for us,” Pearson said. “Microchips are expensive, and there are a lot of people who wouldn’t be able to get this done without this, so this is very appreciated.”
Basset hound Lennie Briscoe already had his rabies vaccination and microchip, but he and his owner Bernice Hiner stopped by the mobile unit to visit the other dogs while out on a morning walk.
“This is such a great service our animal shelter is offering for pet owners,” Hiner said. “I wish more communities would do this.”
Sierra Vista Animal Control and Care Officer Arleen Garcia talked about some benefits the trailer brings to local pet owners.
“This was our very first vaccination clinic in the trailer, and it went very well,” Garcia said. “Back in 2015, we started going door-to-door in certain neighborhoods to get pets signed up for free vaccinations and microchips. We would see how many pets were signed up for our services, come back two weeks later and do the vaccination clinics under canopies or whatever else was available,” she said.
“Now that we have the trailer to work out of, it’s a huge improvement.”
For those interested in seeing the mobile unit, it will be parked in front of Broxton’s Coffee next Saturday (Feb. 29) for a pet adoption day and to show it off to the public. It will be parked at the German Cafe on March 14 for another pet adoption day, and on April 1, it will be in front of the Sierra Vista Library.
“The public is invited to come and see the wonderful animals that need to be adopted and take a look at our ‘One Paw at a Time’ trailer,” Garcia said.
Funding for the vaccination clinics comes through money raised by nonprofit Friends of the SV Animal Shelter. The City of Sierra Vista provides support through staffing and city dog licenses for the animals.
The nearly $80,000 for the trailer came through community fundraisers and donations.
“I first saw one of these trailers at a pet expo years ago, and thought it would be a great asset for us,” Garcia said. “When I mentioned it to Friends of the SV Animal Shelter, they agreed and started promoting the idea to the community and raising money to purchase one. The trailer will be used for emergency evacuations, adoption events and clinics.”