Kayenta Vet Leaving Animal Clinic
It is said that every dog has its day, but those in Kayenta may not have a doctor much longer.
Citing the rising cost of living in the community, Dr. Charletta Begaye said she will be leaving the Kayenta Animal Care Center at the end of May.
With its only veterinarian leaving, that leaves KACC in the doghouse.
“The stuff we do here, we can’t do without a veterinarian,” said Kelvina Lee, a veterinarian technician.
Without a vet KACC can’t spay or neuter pets, do rabies diagnostic work, prescribe medications or even provide animal transports, Lee said.
The KACC opened in 2010 with one cat and one dog. They now operate at capacity – a fact that irritates people when they try to dump an unwanted animal off at the clinic.
For a solid month last year, people argued with the vet and technicians when they found out they couldn’t leave their animals there.
The small clinic can handle 14 dogs and six cats.
“It’s gotten to the point where I can’t afford to live here,” Begaye explained.
That saddens her, because Begaye had big plans for the facility. She wanted to open an equine clinic and a wellness clinic for large animals. She even hoped to work more closely with the women’s shelter and local law enforcement.
“I don’t see how this place is going to function as it is without a veterinarian,” Begaye said.
The technician job allowed Lee – who is from Gallup, N.M. – to stay on the Navajo Nation. But, now, with that job likely soon to end she may have no choice but to take a job that will force her to leave the reservation.
Begaye thinks KACC may be able to stay open until August. Without a veterinarian, it could only operate as a shelter, but that would mean little to no money coming in.
It’s going to be difficult, veterinary technician Raycita Cly acknowledged.
The decision to leave was a difficult one for Begaye.
“I’m supposed to be the healer,” she said. “Personally, it affects me a lot.”