The Robeson County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday honored Dr. David Brooks, a Pembroke veterinarian whose advocacy for animals has made this county a friendlier place for our four-legged friends and is worthy of such an honor.
We hesitate when singling out a local veterinarian for praise, knowing that Robeson County is blessed with many who offer their services at a discount in efforts to make sure dogs and cats are vaccinated against rabies as well as sterilized in an ongoing war to prevent the animals from becoming homeless on the streets, where they not only suffer but are a nuisance.
We recall Squirrel, a mangy mutt whose story was told in these pages in recent weeks: Squirrel was almost unrecognizable as a dog when she was rescued, rehabilitated and then found that forever home that all strays long for. But most endings are not so happy, and thousands of these discarded animals each year end up at the end of a needle at the poorly named Robeson County Animal Shelter.
So back to Brooks, who has been passionate and diligent as a spokesman for the Robeson County Veterinary Medical Association in broadcasting its biannual rabies clinic, which just completed round No. 2 for 2016, as well as the biannual SNIP initiative. During the most recent rabies clinic, 1,004 animals received rabies vaccinations, which protect not only the animals but humans as well from the disease that is almost 100 percent fatal.
Currently, SNIP is in the first week of a second two-week stretch this year, during which dogs and cats can be spayed or neutered at a discounted price at the following clinics: Pembroke Veterinary Hospital, where Brooks provides care; Baird’s Animal Hospital in Lumberton; Southeastern Veterinary Hospital in Lumberton; South Robeson Veterinary Hospital in Fairmont; and North Star Veterinary Hospital in Parkton. Pet owners should call their veterinarian to make an appointment and to obtain a cost.
The program provides poor residents with state vouchers that cover the cost of spaying or neutering their pets. The procedure, which includes anesthesia and surgery, normally costs as much as $150, depending on the size and breed of the animal.
Since SNIP was started in Robeson County 2010, 3,370 dogs and cats in Robeson County have been sterilized as part of the program. When the math is done, that literally adds up into millions of dogs and cats that have not been born unwanted and into a life, often too short, prowling the streets, scrounging for food and becoming a public nuisance.
All of us, pet owners or not, should be thankful to Brooks and all the local veterinarians who make that civic contribution not a single time a year, but twice.