Adventures in Starting a Mobile Spay/Neuter Clinic

Dr. Esther Attard, DVM, Dr. Johanna Booth, DVM, and Mary Lou Leiher
Toronto Animal Services

Toronto Animal Services (TAS) has started Ontario’s first mobile spay/neuter clinic. The aim of this clinic is to offer affordable and accessible spay/neuter services for low-income communities that could otherwise not afford veterinary care.

Steps to initiate this clinic began over 4 years ago with lobbying for the accreditation of a mobile surgical unit with the College of Veterinarians of Ontario (CVO). Once accreditation was approved, the planning process began. This included: approval and backing from Toronto City Council, grant applications, partnership programs, and the design and blueprints of the unit.

Mentorship from the ASPCA in New York City was instrumental in the planning process of the clinic. This presentation will also include valuable knowledge gained through visiting and shadowing the ASPCA mobile units.

Toronto Animal Services’ mobile clinic began operating in December of 2015. The highlights and the trials and tribulations from the first few months on the road will also be included in this presentation.

Participants will gain knowledge into the process of starting a mobile spay/neuter clinic. The presentation will include a comprehensive reflection of the steps taken to plan for and initiate a mobile sterilization clinic. This will include:

Key Learnings:
1. Funding, grants and partnership opportunities
2. Design and construction of a Mobile clinic
3. Servicing clients on a Mobile clinic


Dr. Esther Attard
Esther received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the Ontario Veterinary College in 1991. She has had a varied and exciting career in veterinary medicine which includes: mixed animal practitioner in Tennessee, owning an Equine and Companion Animal Mobile, more than 10 years of shelter medicine and surgery at the Toronto Humane Society, opening a Companion Animal Hospital and the past 9 years working Toronto Animal Services.  Esther resides in Markham with her husband, two daughters and dog. 

Dr. Johanna Booth
Hanna graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College in 2007.  She spent a year spaying street animals in Central America, worked as a shelter veterinarian at the Toronto Humane Society and founded Toronto Street Cats, a volunteer run organization that sterilizes street cats.  She has worked for Toronto Animal Services for the past 4 years doing shelter medicine and surgery.  She lives in Toronto with her husband, two sons and three former street cats.

Mary Lou Leiher
Mary Lou is a Program Manager for Partnerships and Marketing at Toronto Animal Services and is the current president of the Association of Animal Shelter Administrators of Ontario. She has been an employee of the City of Toronto for 25 years, working her way up from an Animal Care and Control Officer to a Shelter Supervisor and then into her current position. Regardless of her position with Toronto Animal Services, Mary Lou has always had an interest in working in the community and engaging the corporate sector to find solutions to manage pet over-population.