The City of San Antonio is laying plans for two new spay/neuter clinics to provide free and low-cost surgeries for residents' pets starting early next year.

The first will be near the Las Palmas Mall on the West Side, in a space formerly occupied by a doctor's office. The second will be located near the Denver Heights Community Center on the city's East Side, in what was previously a dialysis center.

The locations were chosen based on high community need and a lack of private veterinary options, said Bethany Colonnese, chief operations officer for the city's Animal Care Services Department.

City Council funded the clinics in last year's budget amid urgent need to reduce the number of stray and roaming animals.

“[The new clinics] will be very valuable and impactful in the community with where they're located and how quickly we'll be able to retrofit them,” Colonnese said.

The city will pay to turn the medical offices into veterinary clinics, then contract with a private veterinary practice or nonprofit organization to use the space at no cost to the provider.

The city will pay the provider to perform at least 6,500 spay/neuter surgeries, either for free or at a discounted rate to the public. The clinic will also offer other low-cost veterinary services, like vaccinations and wellness visits.

“Each location will have [a number of] free surgeries that are committed to residents of a specific zip code list, and then they will have a certain number of low-cost surgeries at an agreed-upon price with the city,” Colonnese said.

Where a private vet typically charges between $400 and $600 for a spay or neuter surgery, she said, the clinics' low-cost surgeries will cost between $100 and $200.

The city already has two similar clinics up and running.

One is located in Brackenridge Park near the San Antonio Zoo, and run by the nonprofit Spay Neuter Network. The other is at Brooks City Base, on the city's Southeast Side, and run by the Spay-Neuter Assistance Program.

Colonnese said their appointments for free surgeries are normally booked up.

The city has yet to line up providers for the new clinics, Interim Animal Care Services Director David McCary said Thursday. They're expected to be operational by late January or early February of 2025, he said.

With the new facilities, the city expects to increase its capacity for spay/neuter surgeries from 40,000 per year to about 53,000, according to McCary.

Andrea Drusch writes about local government for the ISF FORUM. She's covered politics in Washington, D.C., and Texas for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, National Journal and Politico.