PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A mobile veterinary surgical center could be on the way for Peoria County Animal Protection Services (PCAPS).

The county board will vote Thursday night at their monthly meeting on whether to accept just over $75,000 in grant money to allow PCAPS to buy and customize a box truck that will allow the center to spay and neuter up to 20 animals a day if necessary.

PCAPS Director Becky Spencer said spaying and neutering animals is the best way to control populations and avoid euthanizing more animals.

The unit would be funded by a $25,000 grant from the Peoria Humane Society, a $50,000 grant from the Best Friends Animal Society and $250 grant from local Walmart Community Grants Teams. 

In addition to the truck, the money will help buy the necessary equipment and supplies to begin spaying and neutering services within the county. The hope is that through the use of the mobile unit, PCAPS can cut down on overpopulation by bringing services to residents.

Spencer said it wasn’t likely the truck would be driving around looking for animals but would likely operate as a surgical suite at the shelter. However, being a truck, it allows PCAPS to move the unit to a community that might need its services, she said.

Dr. Julie Brown and Brown Animal Hospital will be providing veterinary care for the unit. 

In 2022, PCAPS took in 2,259 cats. Of those 2,259 cats, 1,271 cats or more than 56% passed away or were humanely euthanized at the shelter, according to a memo that was part of the county board’s packet for its Thursday meeting.

The board also was to discuss a measure that would allow animal control officers to trap feral cats, neuter them, vaccinate them and then return the animals to where they were found. That, the memo stated, led to a reduction in the hormone levels that lead to reduced roaming behavior, yowling, spraying, and fighting behavior.

In addition, the practice of TNVR improves the health of the community cat population, as the cats are vaccinated before they are returned to the area they were found, Spencer said.  

“The cats that we bring in here aren’t adoptable as they are used to being outside and then they come in here and are confined to a small space. They are grumpy and it changes their behavior,” she said.

Spencer said if the county board approves the move, then it is possible the unit could be up and running later this year