AVMA, The Street Dog Coalition partner to help pets of people experiencing homelessness in Austin

For more information Phone: 847-313-9597 Cell: 847-313-9597
For immediate release:
Free clinic is sponsored by Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Merck Animal Health and Western Veterinary Partners

(AUSTIN, Texas) June 17, 2024 – For people experiencing homelessness, providing their beloved pets with the medical care, nutrition and comfort they need and deserve can be a real challenge.

To help meet the needs of animals and their pet parents, every year at the American Veterinary Medical Association’s annual Convention – held this year in Austin – AVMA member veterinarians and other volunteers will partner with The Street Dog Coalition to provide essential care to the pets of unhoused people.

This year’s event will be Sunday, June 23, from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. CDT in the Cowboy Lot (at the northwest corner of I-35 Frontage Road and Sixth Street), close to the Austin Convention Center.

“Working with the Street Dog Coalition to help people experiencing homelessness and their pets is a privilege and a highlight of our annual Convention,” said Dr. Rena Carlson, President of the AVMA. “And we are so grateful to the sponsors – Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Merck Animal Health and Western Veterinary Partners – for their essential support.”

“People experiencing homelessness have incredibly strong bonds with their pets who provide companionship, purpose, and unconditional love. By providing free compassionate care to both ends of the leash, we hope to preserve, protect, and strengthen those bonds,” said Katrina Weschler, Executive Director of The Street Dog Coalition.

Animals will receive health checks and basic care, and pet parents will get a care kit for themselves and – for their pets – food, a collapsible water/food bowl, treats, toys, leashes, and collars. For spaying, neutering and additional care, owners will be referred to local veterinarians who donate or reduce the cost of in-office procedures.

Each volunteer care team will be led by a Texas state-licensed veterinarian and consist of a veterinary technician or student and staff to help with intake, check-in and check-out, and distributing care kits.

In addition to the usual pop-up tents and tables, SDC’s newly acquired RV (courtesy of ElleVet Sciences) will make its Texas debut at the street clinic. Additionally, Hill’s Pet Nutrition is distributing pet food for cats and dogs, and its parent company, Colgate-Palmolive, is donating essential oral health and hygiene products for use by pet parents, including toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss and mouthwash. Merck Animal Health is providing vaccines and preventatives such as heartworm and flea/tick medications. Western Veterinary Partners is supplying lunch for volunteers and pet parents.

“Partnering on this event allows us to help advance the health and wellbeing for all pets and their people,” said Dr. Karen Shenoy, U.S. Chief Veterinary Officer, Hill’s Pet Nutrition. “This event is about more than distributing health supplies and pet nutrition. It's about empowering unhoused and at-risk pet parents to help them keep themselves and their pets healthy so they can enjoy more time together.”

“As a company committed to the health and care of animals, it’s an honor to contribute to the phenomenal support The Street Dog Coalition provides to the people and pets throughout the United States that are experiencing or at risk of homelessness,” said Dr. Robert Duquette, Director of Strategic Veterinary Accounts for Merck Animal Health. “We are proud to support the all-encompassing approach to veterinary medicine that addresses the well-being of both humans and their beloved pets, which ultimately strengthens their bond and makes a profound impact on their lives together.”

Carollee Brinkman, Founder and CEO of Western Veterinary Partners, said: "As a legacy sponsor of The Street Dog Coalition, we’ve seen the incredible impact these clinics have had on the lives of pets and pet parents. We are grateful for the opportunity to support the organization’s mission of providing medical care to pets of people at risk of or experiencing homelessness.”

About the AVMA

Serving more than 105,000 member veterinarians, the AVMA is the nation's leading representative of the veterinary profession, dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of animals, humans and the environment. Founded in 1863 and with members in every U.S. state and territory and more than 60 countries, the AVMA is one of the largest veterinary medical organizations in the world. Informed by our members' unique scientific training and clinical knowledge, the AVMA supports the crucial work of veterinarians and advocates for policies that advance the practice of veterinary medicine and improve animal and human health.

About The Street Dog Coalition

The Street Dog Coalition (SDC) started in 2015 with one team in Fort Collins, CO. It is now an international nonprofit with teams across the United States and in Ukraine providing free medical care and related services to pets of people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness. Volunteers include veterinarians, vet techs, vet assistants, students, social workers, human healthcare professionals and human-animal bond advocates. SDC’s four core values are unconditional love, compassionate activism, unbridled collaboration, and trust. SDC looks at the leash as a lifeline and cares for the mental and physical health on both ends, delivering services with compassion and kindness, devoid of judgment or conditions. SDC’s legacy sponsors include Merck Animal Health, Western Veterinary Partners, ElleVet Sciences, and Hill's Pet Nutrition (a subsidiary of Colgate-Palmolive). For more information, or to donate, visit www.thestreetdogcoalition.org.