Monday, July 20, 2009

New Low Cost Vet Mobile to Help Struggling NYC Pet Owners Keep Their Pets in Tough Economic Times

The Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals and Animal Care & Control of NYC (AC&C) Co-Host Exciting Launch Event on Saturday, July 25, at AC&C's Manhattan Shelter

NEW YORK, NY – Monday, July 20, 2009 – On Saturday, July 25, New Yorkers will get their first glimpse of the "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 will make 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. A press conference will take place between noon and 1:00 pm. To celebrate the launch, AC&C will host a special pet adoption promotion from noon until 7:00 p.m., where dozens of wonderful dogs and cats will be available for adoption both inside the shelter and on a North Shore Animal League America adoption van parked curbside. Adoption fees for adult cats (over one year old) will be waived. In addition, vaccinations for dogs and cats will be available for $10 on the Vet Mobile, and the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals will offer extra-low-cost ($10) microchipping for cats and dogs between noon and 6:00 p.m.

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.

Dr. Elizabette Cohen, DVM, host of the radio program Happy and Healthy Pet and author of the book Most of My Patients Wear Fur, will be the veterinarian on duty for the Low Cost Vet Mobile's Manhattan launch on July 25, and also for the van's premiere at AC&C's Brooklyn shelter on Wednesday, July 29. At both launch events, Dr. Cohen will consult with patients, provide tours of the van, and also sign copies of her book, for which she will donate 100% of the proceeds from the days' book sales to AC&C.

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.


About Companion Animal Network

Companion Animal Network (CAN) was the force behind the creation of Animal Care & Control of NYC (AC&C). Four years ago, CAN founded the nation's first surrender prevention program, and now it is launching the Low Cost Vet Mobile. CAN has been acknowledged by the New York City Council in Resolution #985 for its efforts to bring improvements to the animal control services of New York City. (

About Animal Care & Control of New York City

Animal Care & Control of New York City (AC&C) rescues over 43,000 animals each year, making the organization the largest pet rescue and adoption agency in the Northeast. Since 1995, the not-for-profit organization has been responsible for New York City's municipal shelter system, caring for rescued animals and finding loving homes for homeless, injured, neglected, abused and abandoned animals in all five of the boroughs in New York City. (

About the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals

The Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals, Inc., founded in 2002 and powered by Maddie's Fund®, The Pet Rescue Foundation, is a coalition of more than 150 animal rescue groups and shelters that are working with the City of New York to find homes for every cat and dog in the city who needs one. For more information about the Mayor's Alliance, its participating organizations and pet adoptions, please visit the Mayor's Alliance website at

About Maddie's Fund

Maddie's Fund®, The Pet Rescue Foundation, is a family foundation funded by Workday and PeopleSoft Founder Dave Duffield and his wife, Cheryl. Maddie's Fund is helping to create a no-kill nation where all healthy and treatable shelter dogs and cats are guaranteed a loving home. To achieve this goal, Maddie's Fund is investing its resources in building community collaborations where animal welfare organizations come together to develop successful models of lifesaving; in veterinary colleges to help shelter medicine become part of the veterinary curriculum; in private practice veterinarians to encourage greater participation in the animal welfare cause; and in the implementation of national strategies to collect and report shelter statistics. Maddie's Fund is named after the family's beloved Miniature Schnauzer who passed away in 1997. (


Press Contact

Carrie Hyman, M. Silver Associates

Phone: (212) 754-6500 x245


Jessica Del Guercio, M. Silver Associates

Phone: (212) 754-6500 x237



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