On Friday, March 1, Chelley Kitzmiller and Have A Heart Humane Society advisor Rosemary Evans met with 2nd District Supervisor Zach Scrivner and Director of Kern County Animal Control Jen Woodard to see if a donor sponsored clinic could be scheduled for Tehachapi.
At the time, unknown to Kitzmiller, Scrivner and Woodard had been working together for weeks on funding and scheduling visits of the spay and neuter mobile clinic to several locations in Kern County.
Scrivner wanted to fund four clinics -- two in Bakersfield, one in Mojave and one in Tehachapi.
He had tentatively scheduled the Tehachapi clinic for May 11.
Kitzmiller asked to use Have A Heart donor funding to schedule an earlier date to help prevent feral cat pregnancies.
The group combined forces, agreed on a plan and secured West Park as the location for the clinics.
The first a donor sponsored clinic is scheduled for April 6, the second clinic sponsored by the county will be on May 11. A third clinic is being planned for June.
"We are very excited about this project," Kitzmiller said. "This is the first effort of its kind in Tehachapi to control the ever growing animal population. We are hopeful that other Tehachapi residents and businesses will want to get involved in bringing an end to the problem here in Tehachapi."
She also said that over 650 Tehachapi animals were taken into the Mojave and the Mount Vernon animals shelters in the last two years.
"Most of the animals were destroyed, tossed in 55 gallon drums and hauled away," she added. "I'm going to take literary license with Gandhi's quote and say: 'The greatness of Tehachapi and its moral progress can be judged by the way the residents and the politicians treat the animals.'"
However, Kitzmiller indicated that after an article appeared in the Tehachapi News, a Tehachapi resident, who has asked to remain anonymous, pledged $5,000.
In addition, Lloyd Sobel, owner of the Orchard Shopping Center on Tucker Road, donated $500 to Have A Heart to help fund the project.
"There is no qualification process, no limit on the number of animals that can be altered," Kitzmiller said. "The cost is set at $15 per pet, which includes spay or neuter, vaccinations, microchipping and licensing. Unaltered pets can also get vaccinations, microchips and licensing. However, the licensing fee will be more."
Stand alone rabies vaccinations will also be available for $5, chipping will be provided for free.
Reservations for spays and neuters will be required and can be made by calling 661-750-2261. Leave your information and you will receive a return call. No appointments are needed for vaccination only. The clinic hours will be 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Have A Heart website, haveahearthumanesociety.org, will be updated as additional information becomes available.
Volunteers from Have A Heart Humane Society and the Tehachapi Humane Society will be on hand to help county employees make this a huge success.
Kitzmiller, backed by more than a dozen volunteers from Have A Heart Humane Society and the Tehachapi Humane Society, appeared before the Tehachapi City Council on Feb. 4 and asked them to allocate $5,000 to help bring the Kern County Animal Control mobile spay and neuter clinic to Tehachapi.
Mayor Phil Smith said he did not feel that the city residents should bear the brunt for 30,000 people in the area, but added "at the same time we can't say 'no' to Tehachapi residents."
Smith suggested the possibility of having some of the local CSD's chip in. City Manager Greg Garrett indicated he would speak with Kern County Animal Control to see if the city could amend its contract to provide these types of services.
"So far," Kitzmiller said. "No one from the city has contacted me about any possible funding."