Editorial<br><br>WAAG continues to offer high-dollar care for very little <br><br>

WAAG’s initial efforts were to serve the community in the form of an outreach program. Working with Dr. Livingston of Kaibab Veterinary Clinic, WAAG hosted their first pet vaccination clinic in 1986. The clinic was well attended. The clinic — held annually every spring — remains popular in Williams. WAAG will host their 19th clinic this Saturday at the rodeo barn from 12-3 p.m.

During Saturday’s clinic, dog and cat vaccinations will be administered at a reduced cost. Dr. Karla Baker of Kaibab Veterinary Clinic will be administering rabies vaccinations for dogs and cats for $5 each. Additional feline and dog shots will be available — all at reduced costs. A proof of rabies vaccination certificate is required to purchase a city of Williams dog license. Per city code, all dogs within the Williams city limits must be licensed. Williams Police Department Public Safety Officer Sarah MacRae will be at the clinic selling the dog licenses at a discounted rate of 50 percent off.

As of last week, WAAG had spayed and/or neutered 2,435 dogs and cats from the Williams area. Kaliche says WAAG volunteers have administered more than 10,000 pet vaccinations since 1986. WAAG also serves as a first aid referral for pet owners. Since none of the WAAG members are veterinarians, the volunteers can only determine if an animal should be transported to a veterinary clinic. The first aid referral program is a tremendous undertaking for the group. A pet’s illness or injuries cannot be diagnosed over the phone; therefore, a WAAG volunteer must visit the pet owner’s home when a call for first aid is received. If a WAAG volunteer is unable to assess the pet’s immediate needs, a veterinarian is consulted over the telephone. This free service has undoubtedly saved Williams area residents thousands of dollars over the years.

Two years ago, WAAG initiated the feral cat program. Feral cats — wild felines who belong to no one — are captured by WAAG volunteers. The cats are transported to Kaibab Veterinary Clinic where they are spayed or neutered. The cats receive rabies and a feline leukemia combination vaccination. The cats’ right ears are cut flat so that upon their release, animal control personnel and WAAG volunteers can identify the cats. Volunteers then provide food and water to the feral cats for the duration of their lives. Under the feral cat program, 113 cats have been spayed or neutered. Because of this program, the feral cat population is more manageable.

When a small group of people began meeting at Old Smokey’s in 1986 and formed WAAG, they probably never envisioned what WAAG would be in 2004. Through the efforts of WAAG volunteers, the non-profit organization does more each year. WAAG is a perfect example of what can happen when a group of individuals become proactive. We applaud each and every WAAG volunteer for making Williams a more desirable place to live.

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