Jeni Slavant worked in inner city Dallas helping reduce the number of unwanted pets.

When she moved back to Louisiana five years ago, she wasn’t at all surprised to see just a great a need in Monroe as existed in the larger metropolitan area.

But she was somewhat surprised to see the need in rural parts of Morehouse Parish when she moved here a year ago.

Slavant, working with PAWS of NELA, helped coordinate the first visit by Dr. Tyler Thomas, who brought his mobile spay and neuter clinic Wednesday to the Morehouse Parish Sheriff’s Department Annex on Eugene Ware Road.

“People in places like Morehouse Parish are more likely to have grown up with pets and have pets as adults,” said Slavant, a Monroe native. “We’re working to help educate them to the fact that it’s much cheaper to pay to have their pets spayed and neutered than it is to have to feed six or eight puppies who will grow into adult dogs and have litters of their own.”

Sheriff Mike Tubbs provided a structure for the dogs to be housed in before and after the 30-minute procedures. Bastrop Glass donated materials to make the structure useable as a recovery center. Businesses and individuals donated kennels for the pets to be housed in.

“Jeni helped us when she was here in Monroe, and when she moved to Bastrop, she started handing out applications for our free or reduced cost clinics,” said Samantha Luttrell, humane education director for PAWS. “She worked to find sponsors in the community, like Walmart, who were willing to help make this project the success that it has become.”

Around 7 a.m., the first of 25 pet owners brought their pets to the facility. Dr. Thomas and his staff started the procedures at 7:30.

“We come to people who may not have the resources to bring their pets to Monroe,” Dr. Thomas said. “Last year, we performed 1,048 procedures in our mobile facility.”

Slavant and Luttrell hope this will be the first of regular quarterly visits by the mobile clinic. Slavant is certainly doing her part to spread the word.

“I never get out of the car that I don’t have applications. I look for people who have dog and cat food in their carts,” Slavant said. “We’re hoping to find people in Morehouse who can help us financially in funding the visits. We will all benefit in the long run.”