If your M*A*S*H program will serve a large area, plan how pets will get from the surrounding area to the clinic. If a driver from an outlying community can pick up multiple pets, that’s great! If not, a mass transit will likely be needed. This must be considered in your estimated costs.

If you will use volunteer transport vehicles, make sure they’re a safe choice. If stock trailers are used, early morning and evening may be the only times to safely transport in hot weather. Air conditioned or heated vans, SUVs or other vehicles are the safest.

If possible, we pick up in the evening, bring the animals back to the clinic site and feed and water them for a final feeding before surgery the following morning (of course fasting is different if the animals are under 16 weeks). They are loaded to go home after recovering from surgery; the time of the return trip is based on the weather. Animals are returned with commercial pet food, aftercare instructions and health care tips.

For transport:

Locate an appropriate vehicle and make sure you have a sufficient number of cages, The cages used for transport will be out of commission for 24 hours.

Make sure residents know you’re coming (announcements ahead of time).

On a transport, bring carriers, check-in forms, pens, leashes, spray bottles of cleaner, water and emergency supplies for animals in case you get stuck, paper towels and plastic ties in case an owner’s cage is missing bolts.

You will put a piece of sticky masking tape or duct tape on each carrier with the caregivers’ last name, an initial which designates the community of origin, and a corresponding number on the carrier and also on the intake form which will also be marked on the top of the intake form. That form will be separated from the carrier and the animal, as it will be in the vehicle with you.

The people unloading the animals, and those moving them through the surgery/ recovery process, will probably not be the same people; if they are not marked so they are separated as transport animals, they will go into the area for animals ready to be picked up by their owners. Multiple return trips to deal with forgotten animals are very labor intensive during the clinics.

There must be a way for the correct form, carrier and animal to be put back together once you get to the clinic site and only through a “T” or some other marking will those in the surgery area know which order they are in.

Use only plastic clam shell carriers, not the folding ones. Folding carriers can collapse and are NOT MEANT TO HAVE WEIGHT PLACED ON TOP OF THEM.

Have paper bowls on hand with which to feed and water the animals when they get to the clinic location.

Where companion animals are free roaming, the females are the limiting factor and therefore are the priority. While neutering the males is very important, doing so obviously does not affect the potential for the females to go into season and has no bearing on how many unwanted litters will be produced. If an intact female dog or cat is free roaming, there will be a litter, no matter how many males your program has neutered. We strongly encourage homes to get males neutered in order to reduce the number of dog fights, the likelihood of the dog not roaming and the potential for the dog to keep its home, but if space is limited we prioritize the female dogs or cats.

Read more about Organizing a Transport.