Jacksonville, FL – Fifty million pets in the U.S. experience a lack of access to even basic veterinary care. Rising costs and other barriers mean these pets struggle to access services such as spay/neuter procedures, vaccinations and critical medical and preventative care. With as many as 70% of households now including pets, this issue affects families in nearly every community – including Northeast Florida.
PetSmart Charities has committed $100 million over the next five years toward improving access to veterinary care. The “Accelerator” low-cost veterinary care grant program is a key part of this effort. These grants support the expansion of low-cost veterinary care by funding growth and operations for up to four years for nonprofit clinics looking to expand their services, serve their communities better and inspire other veterinary providers by sharing their experiences.
The grant made to First Coast No More Homeless Pets in the amount of $1.1 million over three years will support the expansion of programs and services in many ways. Funds from the Accelerator Grant will be used to: 1). recruit and retain more veterinarians and support staff to better meet the increasing needs in the community; 2). create a teaching hospital with a Director of Professional Development DVM with programs for current staff, veterinary students, new graduates, and international veterinarians as well as training community members to become veterinary technicians; 3). expand and create new services, including telemedicine and community outreach through a mobile unit that will serve outlying areas that often lack access to affordable veterinary care; and 4). hire a full-time Veterinary Social Worker to help clients in times of need and assist staff with potential burnout as well as compassion fatigue.
“So many in our region are faced with barriers that inhibit veterinary care for their beloved pets; and the number of pet owners in our community needing our accessible, affordable services continues to grow,” states Jennifer Barker, Chief Executive Officer of FCNMHP. “First Coast No More Homeless Pets is
honored to partner with PetSmart Charities in this exciting expansion of its programs and services to better serve the dogs and cats in our community—and their families and caretakers who love them.”
Overwhelmingly, people consider their pets important members of the family. Pets make a significant impact in the health and wellness of the people they love. This grant will enable more families to get the preventative and standard care that ensures their pets thrive at home and stay out of shelters.
“Our veterinary system is in crisis,” said Kate Atema, director of community grants and initiatives at PetSmart Charities. “Rising costs are putting standard veterinary care out of reach for as much as 50% of pet-owning families. We need innovative solutions that make veterinary care affordable for the families in every community who want the best for their four-legged companions but struggle to meet the cost of vet care. We’re inspired by the incredible work First Coast No More Homeless Pets is doing to create solutions that will build strong families and a healthy community.”
About First Coast No More Homeless Pets
First Coast No More Homeless Pets (FCNMHP) helps people and their pets with affordable and accessible veterinary care through its sustainable industry-leading programs, services, and solutions. It is not a shelter; it makes shelters stronger with a broad range of comprehensive programs including its pet food bank, large-scale low-cost or no-cost spay/neuter programs, and professional training opportunities.
FCNMHP operates two facilities. Its Cassat Avenue Regional Veterinary Hospital and Norwood Avenue Spay/Neuter Center and Community Clinic are strategically located in lower-income areas of Jacksonville to maximize access to services for underrepresented communities.
This past year FCNMHP served 74,534 dogs and cats, provided $428,854 in charitable veterinary services including care for critically ill or injured pets whose owners could not afford the care, distributed 124,341 pounds of pet food to low-income pet owners and 9 agencies, and performed 22,978 spay/neuter surgeries, including 9,500 feral cats and 7,292 dogs and cats prepared for adoption through its partnership with 18 shelters and rescues. To learn more visit www.fcnmhp.org .
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About PetSmart Charities®
PetSmart Charities is committed to making the world a better place for pets and all who love them. Through its in-store adoption program in all PetSmart® stores across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, PetSmart Charities helps up to 600,000 pets connect with loving families each year. PetSmart Charities also provides grant funding to support organizations that advocate and care for the well-being of all pets and their families. Our grants and efforts connect pets with loving homes through adoption, improve access to affordable veterinary care and support families in times of crisis with access to food, shelter and emergency relief. Each year, millions of generous supporters help pets in need by donating to PetSmart Charities directly at PetSmartCharities.org, while shopping at PetSmart.com, and by using the PIN pads at checkout registers inside PetSmart® stores. In turn, PetSmart Charities efficiently uses more than 90 cents of every dollar donated to fulfill its role as the leading funder of animal welfare in North America, granting more than $500 million since its inception in 1994. Independent from PetSmart LLC, PetSmart
Charities is a 501(c)(3) organization that has received the Four-Star Rating from Charity Navigator for the past 18 years in a row – placing it among the top one percent of rated charities. To learn more visit www.petsmartcharities.org
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