Gem City Kitties, the nonprofit arm of Gem City Catfe, plans to open Gem City Vet in Trotwood.
Photo: Gem City Kitties
Photo: Gem City Kitties

Kitty alert! Gem City Catfe’s nonprofit needs help opening clinic for free spay services  

The nonprofit arm of Dayton’s first cat cafe is hoping to help address the community’s homeless cat problem in the operating room. 

Gem City Kitties, an offspring of Gem City Catfe, plans to open Gem City Vet.

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The clinic is planned for 5941 Wolf Creek Pike in Trotwood, the former site of Trotwood Veterinary Clinic.

If things go as planned, the clinic will provide free spay and neuter surgeries for homeless cats as well as low-cost vet services for cats and dogs from low-income families.

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Karin Gudal, the owner of Gem City Catfe — a coffee shop and pet adoption center at 1513 Fifth St. in Dayton — and the president of Gem City Kitties, said the move to purchase a building came quicker than she and her six-member board anticipated.

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But she said the opportunity to purchase the 3,000-square-foot structure — fresh on the market — could not be passed up.

Gem City Kitties, the nonprofit arm of Gem City Catfe, plans to open Gem City Vet in Trotwood.
Photo: Gem City Kitties

“This building is in great shape, and it is in an area we want to work in,” she said.

Gem City Kitties’ mission is to help cats find homes. 

It hopes to raise $34,000 by October to cover closing costs and a down payment on the building it plans to purchase by month’s end for roughly $120,000.

 A fundraising site has been set up on Crowdrise.com. 

Addressing the homeless pet epidemic is key, Gudal said. 

The board intends to pursue grant, partnerships with local municipalities as well as hold additional fundraising campaigns to secure the $180,000 to $300,000 it anticipates needing to operate the facility annually, Gudal said. 

It would employ a vet, an office manager, a vet assistant and a vet tech, she said, adding that it is not yet clear if the positions will be full time or part time.

The facility could be open as soon as Spring 2020, Gudal said. 

Gem City Kitties, the nonprofit arm of Gem City Catfe, plans to open Gem City Vet in Trotwood.
Photo: Gem City Kitties

“As long as we can keep moving, we can start making a dent before the next kitten season,” she said. 

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Montgomery County commissioners fired Mark Kumpf, then  director of Montgomery County Animal Resource Center, last December. 

The ousting followed criticism the local shelter faced from animal rights advocates over euthanasia rates. The  independent consultants Team Shelter USA issued a critical report on shelter operations.

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There were several years in which half of all animals entering the Animal Resource Center were euthanized. 

According to Best Friends Animal Society, a nonprofit that operates a sanctuary for homeless animals and education programs, of the 1,304 cats that entered ARC in 2018, only 741 survived. 

Gudal said that Gem City Kitties has been in talks with ARC about changes it is making to address the situation. 

Its plans did not include offering free spay and neutering services for homeless animals who are caught and released, Gudal told this news organization.

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Gem City Vet would provide a service where it is needed, Gudal said, adding that many on Dayton’s west side cannot easily access services offered to The Society for the Improvement of Conditions for Stray Animals.

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The pet adoption center plans to move from its current location at 2600 Wilmington Pike in Kettering to a 27,000 square-foot building on Washington Church Road in Washington Twp. by the end of the year, Montgomery County, office manager Amanda Tomlin said. 

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The future of the current location has not been decided, she said.  

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