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September 07, 2011

Reaching Out to Help Pets in Atlanta

There was no rest over the Labor Day weekend for so many of our HSUS staff. While our Animal Rescue Team was still deployed in a number of disaster-stricken areas, we coordinated a community outreach event in Atlanta with some of our valued local partners. To effectively reduce pet overpopulation, it is critical to get out into the community and extend services to people and pets where they are, and that’s exactly what our team did this weekend. Our Atlanta program manager, Ralph Hawthorne, sent this report about the successful pet clinic:

Free pet clinic in Atlanta coordinated by The HSUS
Michael A. Schwarz
Pet owners lined up early for the free clinic.

People started lining up by 8 a.m., more than two hours before the clinic began, to receive free services for their pets. Despite the Georgia heat, many attendees walked there with as many dogs and cats in tow as they could handle, and waited patiently in line for hours. They expressed gratitude as they moved through the line, from table to table, and by the end of the event we had welcomed approximately 300 people and even more pets.

Local partners and dedicated volunteers helped make this event such a great success. Fulton County Animal Services, run by the Barking Hound Village Foundation, donated free pet licenses. Mike Bryant of SnazzyPetUSA.com, a mobile pet groomer, trimmed 125 sets of nails and addressed any serious grooming issues, helping many pets feel instantly better. We signed 45 people up for free dog training classes we provide with trainers from Jabula Dog Academy.

LifeLine Animal Project, our spay/neuter partner provider, was also on hand to help. Seventy-one percent of the animals we met at the event are not spayed or neutered, but thanks to a generous donor, we were able to schedule free appointments with transportation assistance for nearly half of these pets to be sterilized at LifeLine in the near future. With the other pet owners who did not opt to schedule appointments that day, we started the conversation about the importance of making the decision to spay or neuter, and they will receive follow-up calls, visits, and information from our team as we continue to build relationships with them.

A puppy receives a vaccination at HSUS's free pet clinic
Michael A. Schwarz
Veterinarians administered free rabies vaccinations.

Two amazing veterinarians, Dr. Gloria Dorsey and Dr. Will Magnum, administered 250 free rabies vaccinations and gave pet health care advice on various issues like skin conditions. For most of the attendees, veterinary care is unaffordable and inaccessible, so our vets went above and beyond by providing advice on at-home care people could obtain for very low cost. Freekibble.com donated 1,200 pounds of Halo Spot’s Stew pet food, and we distributed all of it knowing it meant the difference of a few meals for many of the pets we saw that day.

With this program, we are focusing efforts on segments of the community that are underserved in almost every way, lacking information, resources, and services for companion animal health and welfare. The trust and goodwill generated by this event will go beyond the event itself and sets the stage for many future opportunities to engage, spread awareness, and reach people and pets.

We've hosted similar pet clinics in Chicago and other cities, and we hope to continue expanding this important program. Please consider supporting this work by donating your used vehicle to The HSUS through our One Car One Difference program.

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