EAST BROOKFIELD — Fifty million pets in the U.S. experience a lack of access to even basic veterinary care. Rising costs and other barriers mean these pets struggle to access services such as spay/neuter procedures, vaccinations, and critical medical and preventive care. With as many as 70% of households now including pets, this issue affects families in nearly every community.
PetSmart Charities has committed $100 million over the next five years toward improving access to veterinary care. Its Accelerator grants support the expansion of low-cost veterinary care by funding growth and operations for up to four years for nonprofit clinics looking to expand their services, serve their communities better, and inspire other veterinary providers by sharing their experiences.
The grant made to Second Chance Animal Services in the amount of $1.1 million will support expansion over the next three years at the nonprofit’s surgical center that provides lifesaving surgeries for animals. The anticipated impact on local pets and families includes saving the lives of more pets in need of urgent or emergency care who have nowhere else to turn.
“We are so grateful to PetSmart Charities for their continued support of our work to keep pets in their homes with the people they love,” said Sheryl Blancato, Second Chance CEO and founder. “Second Chance is a place that many turn to for lifesaving surgeries to save their pets and to keep them together with the families that love them.”
Second Chance offers a two-tiered system of subsidized rates for pet owners at its four community veterinary hospitals in North Brookfield, Southbridge, Springfield, and Worcester. Pet owners under 150% of the poverty level received a subsidized rate lower than Second Chance’s standard rates. Those that do not fit in this category pay the standard low-cost rate. This helps to ensure access to care for all pets.
Overwhelmingly, people consider their pets important members of the family. Pets make a significant impact on the health and wellness of the people they love. This grant will enable more families to get the preventive and standard care that ensures their pets thrive at home and stay out of shelters.
“Our veterinary system is in crisis,” said Kate Atema, director of Community Grants and Initiatives at PetSmart Charities. “Rising costs are putting standard veterinary care out of reach for as much as 50% of pet-owning families. We need innovative solutions that make veterinary care affordable for the families in every community who want the best for their four-legged companions but struggle to meet the cost of vet care. We’re inspired by the incredible work Second Chance is doing to create solutions that will build strong families and a healthy community.”