As part of our ongoing "Getting to Know Your Local Businesses" series, this week we sat down with Deana Sellens, Executive Director of Texas Litter Control.
Tell us a bit about your business: What does your business offer, and how long have you been around?Texas Litter Control opened our first clinic in February of 2013. TLC was formed to provide low cost spay/neuter and vaccination services to the public. We provide support to our local municipal shelters by preventing the birth of unwanted litters of kittens and puppies. If they do end up in shelters, we want them vaccinated. We now have 3 5,000 square foot facilities (Humble, Tomball, and Spring) which perform over 20,000 spay/neuter surgeries per year.
How did the business get started?
Our Founder and Executive Director purchased an 800 square foot FEMA trailer. We had a couple of donors who helped us get started. We partnered with Petroleum Wholesale, who provided the land at no charge to allow us to get started in our little FEMA trailer. We had to move when we had to reinforce the floor twice due to the amount of foot traffic.
Tell us a couple of things that you are proud of about your business. What are you known for? What separates you from the competition?
I am proud to have spayed/neutered over 100,000 animals since we opened in 2013. We are able to help so many people in our community. TLC self-funds most of our programs, which is necessary since there is just not a lot of money for animal welfare in general.
What is your favorite part of running this business?
I love the fact that we can provide services to pet owners who many times do not have the means. It’s so nice to get stopped by people at the grocery store when I’m wearing my TLC T-shirt. I feel like a bit of a rock star when they ask me if I work there and I can tell them I started the organization. They always get so excited and tell me how much they love us and really appreciate the work we do.
Who is your ideal customer/client? Who do you serve best?
We are here for the general public. When you get your annual vaccinations for your pets at TLC, the funds go to programs that help keep pets out of shelters and to help pet owners with limited means. Many people can’t afford to donate. This is a way you can give back with something you would be doing anyways!
Our vaccination and wellness programs generate the money to fund our other programs:
HelpMeKeepMyPet.com – Shelter intervention program
Pet Food Pantry
Coalition for Responsible Property Management Companies
Our annual United Pet Rescuers Conference
FIV Cat Placement and Education
In addition, we do offer expanded services to income qualified families and individuals. You can find more information about this service here: texaslittercontrol.org/expanded-services. We also offer slow kill heartworm treatment.
Can you tell us something about yourself as the business owner? What is your background? How did you decide to get involved in this line of work?
My background is in banking/credit card processing. I was also an Operations Manager in retail. I was responsible for Risk, Investigations, and Operations at the bank. Merchants who take deposits were a big risk to our business so I performed thousands of financial reviews on these businesses and would help them ensure their success. Small business is a balancing act. I also worked on upgrading computer systems. I had been volunteering in animal welfare for over 20 years, and I saw the business model for the spay/neuter clinic and stupidly thought I could continue doing my full time job and open the clinic. I came from big corporate with lots of money and manpower and I had no clue how much work running a small business could be, even thought I had counseled so many small business owners. Finally, once I realized the amount of work that goes into running a successful small business, I gave up on my old life and began doing this full time. I’m kind of thinking this is karma of some sort!!! I will tell you it is seriously funny to have a Federal Agent call me with a banking question, then they ask where I’m working… When I say I’m running the spay/neuter clinic, I always get a bit of hysterical laughter.
Are there any special promotions, annual sales, or special events that you'd like to mention?
We have been given a grant of $45,000 by the Petco Foundation for free spay/neuter surgeries. These vouchers will be passed out as needed to income qualified individuals. We are also participating in a big vaccine push by the Petco Foundation and Merck and we will be doing some free vaccination clinics for income qualified individuals. Watch our Facebook page for details.
Is there any other information you'd like your potential customers/clients to know about your business?
Texas Litter Control is super transparent. All of our pricing and services are spelled out on our website. We have no hidden fees. Our employees will only suggest services and products you actually need. No one is paid on commission; we are here strictly to help you and your pets.
How do you see your business growing and improving over the next couple of years?
We had to move our clinics all over the last year due to growth. We are going to stabilize for the next couple of years before we plan on opening additional locations. Additionally, we are pleased to announce that we are now offering wellness visits and vaccinations at our Humble Location
For more information about Texas Litter Control, visit their profile on Kingwood.com
. To learn more about services offered, make an appointment, learn about adoptable pets, or make a donation visit their website