Philadelphia, PA (July 31, 2022) — Pet owners in Philadelphia experiencing homelessness will be able to receive free veterinary examinations for their animals and complimentary food and essential supplies at an event organized by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and The Street Dog Coalition.
The clinic will be held July 31 from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm at Norris Square Park during the AVMA’s annual convention, being held this year in Philadelphia, and is sponsored by Merck Animal Health and Hill’s Pet Nutrition, with support from the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau. Care teams will consist of one volunteer veterinarian licensed to practice in Pennsylvania plus 2-3 veterinary technicians and other support staff.
Along with health checks and basic care for the pets, each pet owner will be provided with a hygiene kit for themselves and, for their pets, dog food, a collapsible water/food bowl, treats, toys, leashes and collars. Merck Animal Health, the national partner of The Street Dog Coalition, is providing all the vaccines for the clinic and preventatives such as heartworm and flea/tick medications, along with dog bowls and other supplies as needed. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, a global leader in science-led nutrition, will provide up to 350 free bags of dog and cat food. For spaying, neutering and other surgeries, owners will be referred to local veterinarians who donate or reduce the cost of in-office procedures.
“Pets offer us love and companionship, and in return we need to provide them with care and nutrition, but when the owner is homeless, sometimes giving the animal everything that it needs is challenging,” said Dr. Jose Arce, President of the AVMA. “As we return to an in-person Convention, we are delighted and thankful that we can join with The Street Dog Coalition, Merck Animal Health and Hill’s Pet Nutrition to offer high-quality, free veterinary services and supplies to these animals in our host city of Philadelphia.”
“People living on the street are often isolated, and their pets offer them companionship, protection, and help them navigate dangerous places and give them purpose,” said Dr. Jon Geller, the veterinarian who founded The Street Dog Coalition in Colorado in 2015. “We’re committed to protecting the human-animal bond. It’s amazing what we can do when we come together to make these clinics happen.”
“Providing access to veterinary care, regardless of one’s living situation, brings peace of mind in knowing their pet is receiving high-quality care,” said Dr. Christine Royal, Merck Animal Health Associate Vice President, U.S. Companion Animal and Equine. “At Merck Animal Health, we are committed to protecting the human-animal bond and know how important pets are for bringing companionship, safety, and purpose to our lives. We are proud to donate our medicines, vaccines and volunteer hours to The Street Dog Coalition in order to support pet owners in Philadelphia and other cities across the U.S.”
“Hill’s Pet Nutrition is proud to partner with the AVMA and The Street Dog Coalition to support this important initiative to help pets and the people who love them,” said Dr. Karen Shenoy, Chief Veterinary Officer of Hill’s Pet Nutrition US. “Just as with people, regular care and proper nutrition are essential for pets to live long, healthy lives.”
For more information on the clinic or other media opportunities at the AVMA Convention, to schedule interviews, and to register as a press attendee, please contact Michael San Filippo, AVMA senior media relations specialist, at (847) 732-6194 (cell) or msanfilippoavma [dot] org (msanfilippo[at]avma[dot]org).