Spay-neuter clinic puts Perdue to work

On a visit to the Augusta area Friday, Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue made a stop at Dogwood Park Spay-Neuter Clinic, where he got right down to business.

Mr. Perdue, a licensed veterinarian, neutered a 6-month-old beagle named McCoy at the Appling facility to promote the importance of having animals spayed or neutered.

"We must be responsible in pet ownership, and that means spaying and neutering our animals if they're not going to be used for breeding," he said.

Before beginning the procedure, Mr. Perdue toured the 1,800-square-foot clinic, which opened in March. It is operated by the Columbia County Humane Society.

"This is so exciting for us," said Humane Society President Donna Evans. "We're hoping this will draw a lot of attention on spay and neuter for us."

Dressed in scrubs and donning a Georgia Bulldog scrub cap, Mr. Perdue performed the 15-minute operation and implanted a microchip in the dog.

After completing the procedure, he again emphasized the importance of the spay/neuter issue.

"When you have a governor who's a veterinarian and can draw a little bit of attention to the issue, it's still very important," the governor said. "I don't get to do this every day."

As a token of their appreciation, Humane Society members and the clinic's staff gave Mr. Perdue two chew toys for his boxer puppy. The governor's visit coincided with the Humane Society's 28th anniversary.

Mr. Perdue, who earned a doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of Georgia in 1971, joked that his former profession helped to prepare him for politics.

"I told people that I was eminently qualified for governor because I already had the boots, the gloves and the shovel," he joked.

Reach Jenna Martin at (706) 868-1222, ext. 109, or jenna.martin@augustachronicle.com.