The City of San Angelo has hired a veterinarian to treat and to perform spay/neuter procedures on the dogs and cats at the San Angelo Animal Shelter.

Dr. Kuppe G. Nagaraj, who most recently practiced in California, joined the shelter, effective Monday, Nov. 2. His duties include examining, treating and medicating animals brought into the shelter, performing spay/neuter surgeries, administering a rabies control program, and training shelter staff and animal control officers on matters such as humane animal handling, sanitation and disease control, basic animal behavior and first aid for animals.

Having performed approximately 70,000 spay/neuter surgeries during his 20-plus-year career, Dr. Nagaraj will administer a low- to no-cost spay/neuter program the City Council approved today. Animals adopted from the shelter have previously been sterilized by local veterinarians, typically at a cost to taxpayers that is greater than the adoption fee. That’s particularly true during special adoption events, such as one Saturday in which more than 60 shelter dogs were adopted at a fee of $10 each.

The new low-cost spay neuter program, which will begin in early 2016, will benefit families that earn no more than 125 percent of federal poverty guidelines. For a single person, that would be no more than $14,588. For a family of four, that would be no more than $29,813.

There will be no cost for anyone who earns up to 50 percent of the federal poverty guideline. Those who earn 51 percent to 75 percent will pay $20, 76 percent to 100 percent will pay $30, and 101 percent to 125 percent $40.

Nagaraj practiced at a pet hospital and at a pet clinic in Tracy, California, from 2004 through earlier this year. He previously worked at the East Bay Society to Prevent the Cruelty of Animals (SPCA) in Oakland, California. He earned his degree in veterinary medicine from Veterinary College, Bangalore.