CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - With COVID-19 restrictions forcing veterinary clinics to close or have limited hours, many pets have been without they care they’ve needed for months.
Thanks to the Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA (CASPCA), pet owners who struggle to afford care for their furry friend were able to get their pet examined for $15, just by driving up to the building. The clinic is for cat and dog owners who rely on public assistance programs and may not be able to pay for a visit to the vet.
Monday afternoon, cars lined up to have their pet examined by CASPCA staff. Many clients waited for more than an hour, as the volume was higher than planned.
“It’s a lot more people than we had expected, especially on a Monday”, said CASPCA Executive Director Angie Gunter.
Staff waited on clients at their cars, taking animals back and forth from the building for a checkup.
Gunter says the need for the clinic is overwhelming, especially as unemployment numbers rise.
“Part of our life-saving work is pet retention. We want to keep as many pets out of the shelter as possible and keep them in their homes," Gunter said. "One of the biggest reasons why folks have to return animals or surrender them to the shelter is because they can’t afford veterinary care.”
Clients are required to show proof of public assistance, which includes Medicaid, SNAP, unemployment and disability.
Gunter said clinics like the one today help target untreated health problems and keep care affordable in the future.
“Sometimes our veterinarians determine that maybe the animal has another medical issue that wasn’t seen by the pet owner and then the patient becomes ours,” Gunter said.
Other services like nail trimming and vaccinations were also available. CASPCA staff said another clinic will be held in August.