Beginning next week, the Richmond SPCA will offer low-cost, high-quality veterinary care for low-income households in the Richmond region. The resolve to care for pets of financially-limited owners underscores the shelter’s commitment to Richmond animals.
Not only is the Richmond SPCA a trove of adorable cats and dogs in need of adoption, but it will also take steps to care for animals after they are adopted. Beginning March 5th, the Richmond SPCA will offer full-service veterinary care for low-income families.
“One of the greatest unmet needs in our community for companion animals is a resource for low-cost and high-quality veterinary care,” said Robin Starr, Chief Executive Officer at Richmond SPCA in a publicity video for the new service. “There are so many pets that have loving families who care about them deeply, but those families do not have a high enough income to be able to afford to get veterinary care.” The new Clinic for Compassionate Care is taking deliberate steps to address these very families and pets.
According to a study conducted by Alan Newman Research in 2010, more than one-third of households making less than $60,000 annually cannot afford unexpected veterinary services, and more than half of these households worry over not being able to afford their pet’s medical bills. Pets belonging to low-income families are nearly 28% less likely to receive annual check ups, with cost being the primary reason their guardians cite for skipping those visits. Additionally, more than 50% of low-income families have given up caring, or outright euthanized, their pet as result of their inability to afford needed veterinary care.
Dr. Angela Ivey, Director of Veterinary Medicine, said that Richmond SPCA, “will still provide all the preventative care that we have always provided.” This includes spay and neuter procedures, feral cat care, vaccinations, as well as heart worm and flea preventions. However, the new Clinic for Compassionate Care will allow the Richmond SPCA to provide full-veterinary services: general and preventative healthcare, dentistry, routine surgery, geriatric care, in-house laboratory and radiology services, microchipping, among others. “The scope of our care will be like any other veterinary hospital your pet has ever been to,” said Dr. Ivey.
“Everyone at the Richmond SPCA, both our board and staff, has always been deeply proud of the fact that the Richmond SPCA is constantly pushing forward to do new, progressive, innovative things,” said Robin Starr. “It has always been just part of our DNA.” She said that the new clinic “continues that legacy.” The Richmond SPCA restructured the physical layout of their location at 2519 Hermitage Road for the space needed to accommodate the new full-service Clinic for Compassionate Care.
To qualify for the clinic, pet owners must meet the Richmond SPCA’s income qualifications (a one-person household must earn no more than $55,000 annually, and a two-person household cannot exceed $74,000). All pets adopted at the Richmond SPCA after March 5th will also qualify for clinic services, as well those referred by another veterinary office due to financial limitations of a pet’s owner. The mission for the new clinic is to make sure that all pets, regardless of their owner’s financial abilities, receive the veterinary care that that they need.
“We believe that it is important for us always to be innovating with energy and courage to do the things that the pets of our community need so that we save more lives, we give more pets happy, fulfilling, good lives, and we give more people the joy that comes with the companionship of those pets for a lifetime.”
photo by Fionnuala Bradley