Twin Ports Spay and Neuter lands back on feet after relocation
The animal clinic resumed operations May 1 in its new West Duluth space.
DULUTH — Twin Ports Spay and Neuter reopened in its new location at 6128 Grand Ave. and began taking appointments May 1.
The private clinic is owned by Dr. Tammy Schilling. It offered spay and neuter services to shelter animals and household pets in its former home for 13 years until being forced to vacate Jan. 1.
The building previously occupied by the clinic at 2002 W. Superior St. was purchased by the Duluth-based commercial real estate company Titanium Partners in July 2021. Twin Ports Spay and Neuter received notice to vacate last October.
According to Titanium Partners, a local business owner has leased the space with plans to open a retail store in June.
As stated on its website, Twin Ports Spay and Neuter "aims to dramatically reduce the number of animals that become homeless, enter shelters and may be euthanized."
It also partners with several local rescues that use its services for adoptive animals.
"Having a high-quality spay and neuter is a rarity up here," said office manager Lisa Lepak. "We serve clients everywhere from Canada, down to Iowa, the Dakotas and into Wisconsin."
The clinic typically performs over 100 surgeries a week, she said.
"Right now, our numbers are low. We're doing around 25 per day. Normally, it's not unusual to do 50 per day," Lepak said. "In the past 13 years, we've done close to 90,000 surgeries."
With pet overpopulation and homelessness already a significant issue in the Northland, the organization began raising money through GoFundMe to reopen, collecting approximately $7,000 in donations, Lepak said.
Providing access to affordable spay and neuter services for those requiring it for public housing added to the urgency of resuming business, according to Lepak.
"People will choose to be homeless before giving up a pet. Altering a young, healthy animal can run between $600-$700, which isn't feasible for the lower-income families of the area," Lepak said.
Twin Ports Spay and Neuter charges $199 to spay a female dog, $169 for a male dog, $129 for a female cat and $99 for a male cat. A rabies vaccine is required, which can be given to the animal at the time of surgery for an extra $15.
There are many benefits to altering animals, Lepak said. For example, neutering male pets may prevent them from urinating in the home, being "too friendly" with guests, running away or getting injured while trying to find a mate. Spaying female pets may help avoid cancer and other hormone-related health issues, she added.
"When you have unaltered animals, you end up with a bazillion litters of puppies and kittens," Lepak said. "A spay here is $99, but an emergency c-section at the vet is in the thousands. It keeps animals from running loose so they're not overwhelming animal control with disease-ridden strays."
It was a challenge to find an affordable space large enough to relocate in Duluth, Lepak added. Twin Ports Spay and Neuter is leasing from Darin Lind, who also owns Duke Boys Towing and Auto. The new space is approximately 2,500 square feet, which is half the size of the clinic's previous Lincoln Park location.
"The bones were here. We just had to fix it," Lepak said of what previously served as the old power grid building for West Duluth.
The build-out included an enclosed surgery suite, kennel rooms, plumbing and electrical work. New kennels and equipment were also purchased for the reconfigured space, while other items remain in storage. The clinic employs three veterinarian technicians and six veterinary assistants.
"It's going incredibly well. We brought in all new staff, and some of the previous employees came back," Lepak said. "We are just doing spay and neuter currently to catch up, and then will reintroduce wellness and dental."
For more information, visit northlandspayneuter.org.