New Yorkers now have a “Low Cost Vet Mobile” – a new mobile veterinary clinic created to help cash-strapped New Yorkers at risk of having to give up their companion animals because they can no longer afford their veterinary care. The program, developed by Garo Alexanian of Companion Animal Network and staffed by local veterinarians, will provide pet owners with affordable, preventive veterinary care and also a first step in developing relationships with veterinarians within their community.
The Low Cost Vet Mobile made its debut at the Animal Care & Control (AC&C) Manhattan shelter, located at 326 East 110th Street, on Saturday, July 25 at 12:00 noon.
Traditionally, many low-income pet owners do not seek preventive veterinary care for their pets, and when their pets become ill, they surrender them to AC&C. In today’s particularly challenging economy, the number of these animals arriving at AC&C shelters has skyrocketed. “The mobile clinic will help so many pet owners that are having trouble making ends meet and caring for a sick pet at the same time,” says Richard Gentles, AC&C’s spokesperson. “We applaud Garo’s initiative, and the timing couldn’t be better.”
By providing another means of access to affordable veterinary care to low-income New York City pet owners, the Low Cost Vet Mobile is expected to substantially reduce the number of animals surrendered to city shelters, which already are at full capacity. “I expect the program will prevent approximately 5,000 surrenders over the course of a year,” says Alexanian. “This can translate to a 12-15 percent reduction in shelter intakes.”
Stemming the tide of preventable pet surrenders is crucial to the success of current efforts underway in New York City to reduce, and eventually end, the killing of healthy and treatable cats and dogs at city shelters simple because they do not have homes, according to Jane Hoffman, President of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals – the organization that spearheads the city’s efforts to become a no-kill community under a multi-million-dollar grant from Maddie’s Fund®, the Pet Rescue Foundation. “The Low Cost Vet Mobile provides another important alternative for our city’s pet owners who don’t want to part with their companion animals.” Among other programs currently available to these pet owners are the Safety Net/Pets for Life NYC program, low-cost vet care at the Humane Society of New York Veterinary Hospital in Manhattan, and the Bensonhurst Low Cost Animal Clinic in Brooklyn.
Going forward, the Low Cost Vet Mobile’s location will alternate between Animal Care & Control’s Manhattan and Brooklyn locations, where it will provide assistance to pet owners at two of the busiest points of entry to the New York City shelter system.