Alabama’s spay/neuter clinics recently found themselves under fire after receiving a letter from the Alabama State Board of Veterinary Medicine Examiners stating that, because their clinics were not owned by a licensed veterinarian, they were in violation of Alabama’s Code and must cease operation.
Over the last several years, Alabama Spay/Neuter clinics have performed thousands of high quality, low cost surgeries for pet owners who could not afford to fix their animals and were approved and sanctioned by the Alabama Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners. Closing these clinics would have devastating effects on the health and well-being of thousands of cats and dogs and put an additional financial strain on rescue organizations that care for unwanted animals.
On October 10, 2012, over 100 concerned citizens, members of rescue organizations and various leaders of nonprofit animal shelters gathered in Montgomery to attend a public hearing held by the ASBVME. I was in attendance as well.
As I arrived that morning, the room was already filled to capacity and a fire marshal standing at the door instructed me to stand in the hall. I complied. Moments later, a woman walked over to me and whispered that, because I was with the press, someone in the room would gladly trade places with me. I took her advice and re-entered the room. As people caught a glimpse of my press badge and camera, they willingly stepped aside and within minutes, I had worked my way to the front of the room.
Photographers like to say, “I got the shot”, and indeed I got the shot, but at the end of the day, I got much more. I got a pictorial record of the people’s voice in action.
David Garrett is Weld’s office manager and photographer.