Time 4 Paws working toward low-cost spay, neuter clinic

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story stated the low-cost spay and neuter clinic was a joint project of A Time 4 Paws and Cumberland County. That is incorrect. The clinic is a project of A Time 4 Paws.


A Time 4 Paws is expanding their services in Cumberland County, with plans for a low-cost spay and neuter clinic at their location on Cook Rd.

“After 17 years of serving the animals and residents of this and surrounding communities, we have heard so many stories of how people cannot afford to take their pet to be fixed or get basic shots,” said Karen McMeekin, president and founder of A Time 4 Paws. “The time is right for our organization to work toward a low-cost clinic for our own community.”

It’s the next phase for the animal welfare organization that began in 2005 with a goal of saving more pets and moving the county to a no-kill community. 

The organization helps support pet owners with their grassroots community outreach programs that include education, pet food pantry and other pet retention services. They also shelter homeless pets and help them find homes through their adoption center. 

And they’ve offered financial assistance for low-income pet owners to get their pets fixed through grants from the Tennessee Animal Friendly license plates grant program. But barriers still remain for many pet owners, including cost and transportation. While low-cost clinics in surrounding communities have helped many Cumberland County residents, McMeekin said a local facility can impact more people in the outlying areas who can’t access those services.

The low-cost spay and neuter clinic will offer set fees for spay and neuter services and other basic pet health care like vaccines and tests. McMeekin said plans are to establish a grant fund that can subsidize those costs for low-income residents, similar to the state’s grants for spay and neuter assistance.

The projected opening date is spring 2023.

“We have received the Tennessee Animal Friendly Grant for many years,” McMeekin said. “We had $1,500 last year — not nearly enough. We want to have our own grants helped by our revenue and community donations.”

Initially, McMeekin said the organization planned to offer a mobile spay/neuter unit, but that proved cost prohibitive.

“Expanding the center is a better use of donor money,” she said

The clinic will operate out of the front building on the complex. The rear building houses the organization’s adoption center. Plans include an updated surgery room and prep room with a loft apartment for the veterinarian to use in emergency situations.

“The biggest challenge is to locate a veterinarian,” she said. “It’s extremely hard to find veterinarians.”

A Time 4 Paws plans to offer a start-up bonus to help recruit a veterinarian to the clinic.

Funding for the start-up costs will come from grants and revenue from the organization’s thrift store at 1241 West Ave. 

Donations are welcome. Gifts to the general fund can help with any need, or donations can be earmarked for the grant program

“This is a key in helping people in the community,” McMeekin said.

Funding for A Time 4 Paws comes primarily though revenues from its thrift store on West Ave., but the organization is also raising funds specifically for a fund that will help low-income residents access spay and neuter services.

Community support has been strong, with $4,000 raised as of the end of February.

To make a donation, go to PayPal and enter savetnpets@gmail.com or mail it to P.O. Box 2982 Crossville, TN, 38557.

For further information, contact McMeekin at savetnpets@gmail.com.