Volunteer veterinarians offer free ‘life-saving’ care to pets of people experiencing homelessness

Published: Sep. 10, 2023 at 11:25 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - It’s hard for anyone to part with their furry friend, but choosing between having a place to live and keeping your animal makes the choice harder.

The Street Dog Coalition held an event today to make sure both are possible for residents of Tucson through free veterinary care for people experiencing homelesses.

“I’m homeless and until we get the dogs with the rabies and the proper vaccines, I can’t move in,” owner of four dogs Michelle Schmidt said. “I didn’t go to a shelter because some places don’t allow dogs and I know it maybe selfish of me to keep my dogs and not let them go but they’re.. I say that’s my tribe these are my people.”

Owners like Michelle are exactly why the Street Dog Coalition hosts this event.

“Some of these pets are what these people live for, right?” Tucson Street Dog Coalition co-chair Kim Maynard said. “It’s the reason they get out of bed, it’s the reason they’re walking around is because they have these things to take care of so it’s just really important that we know that we know that our friends are being cared for just as much as we can.”

With veterinary care costs continuing to rise, proper care is nearly impossible for people suffering from homelessness or financial hardship.

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“You can’t afford to do anything and not only that but you can’t even afford to get into an apartment unless you have vaccinations for your animal so that’s even harder,” pet owner Michael Bianca said.

The alternative for these owners is hard to think about.

“Because a lot of these people can’t afford treatment it would be a death sentence for these dogs,” Maynard said.

The event offered free veterinary care, from nail trimming, check-ups, and vaccinations. All for the animals owners love most in the world.

“Cost is huge. I can’t afford it there’s no way but I’m not going to let the dogs run around without vaccinations so you do whatever you can. That’s your family,” Bianca said.

The Street Dog Coalition hosts this event the second Sunday of every other month. You can find more information on where and when those events here.

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