One of the most common reasons pets are returned or surrendered to local shelters is a lack of affordable pet wellness, training, and education programs. Because of the expense and other barriers, pets in under-resourced communities often lack access to basic veterinary care, such as spay/neuter services, vaccinations, and dental care among other medical and preventative care treatments.
Luckily, just in time for National Adoption Weekend, which spanned Feb. 29 and March 1, Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando announced the receipt of a total of $140,000 in grants from PetSmart Charities. Using a $75,000 grant from PetSmart Charities, Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando will be able to provide free wellness exams, vaccines and spay/neuter surgeries to under-resourced communities in the tri-county area. In addition, a $65,000 grant from PetSmart Charities will be used to support adoption activities that prepare pets for adoption, such as staffing, spay/neuter surgeries, vaccines, medical supplies and more. This grant will help support the adoption of 2,500 animals over 12 months.
In partnership with Osceola County Animal Services, the City of Orlando and Orange County, Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando will offer wellness and vaccine services via its Mobile Veterinary Unit at locations throughout the community. Pet Alliance’s Alafaya Clinic will also be offering free spay/neuter services. The goal is to serve 1,000 pets over the next 12 months.
“This pilot program will expand Pet Alliance’s work in the community and provide services to residents and pets that are most in need,” says Steve Bardy, executive director at Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando. “Pet Alliance’s vision is to create a more caring community by promoting happier, healthier pets and their families, and this program will help us achieve that goal. We look forward to building partnerships and collaborating with other agencies to serve the families and pets of Central Florida. This program would not be possible without the generous support of PetSmart Charities, which we are extremely grateful for.”
Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando was founded in 1937 as the Orlando Humane Society. With a mission to educate, shelter, place and heal pets and their families with compassionate, responsible care maintained to the highest professional standards, Pet Alliance is dedicated to the welfare of dogs and cats in Orange, Seminole and Osceola counties. Nearly 7,000 surrendered pets and homeless animals turn to the Pet Alliance for food, medical care, low cost spay and neuter surgeries, and shelter until they find new homes. Their shelter services are supported entirely by donations from the community. In addition to housing, Pet Alliance works on programs that keep pets and people together. Pet Alliance has two pet adoption centers in Orlando and Sanford as well as three veterinary clinics in Orlando, Sanford and Alafaya.
“We believe communities are stronger with pets and are committed to supporting pets and the people who love them,” says Kelly Balthazor, regional relationship manager at PetSmart Charities. “We are thrilled to support these initiatives with Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando that remove barriers to basic pet care and promotes adoptions to ensure more animals achieve proper, quality care and find happy, healthy homes.”
PetSmart Charities, Inc. is committed to finding lifelong, loving homes for all pets through its support for programs and thought leadership that unites people and pets. PetSmart Charities has helped more than nine million pets to find loving homes via its in-store adoption program in over 1,650 PetSmart stores across the United States and Puerto Rico. The leading funder of animal welfare has also donated nearly $400 million since its inception in 1994 to positively impact communities, to connect people and pets, to help preserve families, and to improve access to veterinary care through initiatives like this with Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando. Independent from PetSmart Inc., PetSmart Charities is a 501(c)(3) organization that has received the Four-Star Rating from Charity Navigator, a third-party organization that reports on the effectiveness, accountability and transparency of nonprofits for the past 16 years in a row – placing it among the top 1% of charities rated by this organization.
Photos Courtesy of the Pet Alliance