Why Are Clinics So Cheap?
It's simple. Animals come in to the clinics in the morning and go home that afternoon. At the end of the day, clinic employees turn out the lights, lock the doors and go home. And the space required for a clinic is tiny compared to what's necessary for a shelter.
The Have-A-Heart Spay and Neuter Clinic, the model for the clinics Animal Friendly NYC would like to see the city operate, was a large clinic, with three operating suites and the capacity for 95 animals. It served about 6,700 cats and dogs a year and had just seven full-time employees and four part-time veterinarians.
The five clinics that AFNYC's Clinic Initiative calls for would be one-third the size of the Have-A-Heart clinic, each with the capacity for 20 to 30 animals and performing 4,000 surgeries a year. Based on Have-A-Heart's experience, each clinic would need about six full-time employees, and that's a generous estimate of staffing requirements.
We keep referring to the Have-A-Heart clinic because its real-life experience is absolutely relevant to our proposal for city clinics. It managed to deliver low-cost surgery at an average subsidy of $55 per animal while paying New York City rents and New York City salaries.
And it's worth repeating that the average subsidy includes the cost of setting up the clinic, from initial consultants' fees and leasehold improvements to equipment and furnishings. It cost roughly $430,000 to open the Have-A-Heart clinic. Clearly, we can't just divide the Have-A-Heart costs by a third to arrive at the cost of establishing the smaller clinics we're advocating, but just as clearly, the cost would be far lower per clinic than Have-A-Heart's cost.