Every month for 10 years, volunteers with Vets for Pets have treated animals of low income, transient and homeless people at Our Place. (File submitted/ Richard Leon Gauthier Photography)

Vet services for Victoria’s pets of the homeless cancelled for first time in a decade

Vets for Pets faces a volunteer shortage that’s forced the group to cancel its recent service

For the first time in 10 years a free veterinary service for the pets of low-income, transient and homeless people has been cancelled.

Vets for Pets is a volunteer organization comprised of veterinarians, vet technicians and pre-vet students and assistants who provide preventative care for cats and dogs once per month at Our Place, at 919 Pandora Ave.

Typical services include distributing vaccines, flea control and dewormer, and treatment for simple ear, eye and skin infections.

READ MORE: Vets help furry friends of homeless and low income people

The group visits Our Place on the second Sunday of each month – except for February and July – and in a period of two hours sees an average of 60 pets.

This month however, there were not enough volunteers to allow for the service.

“I think we’re seeing a lot of burnout,” said Vets for Pets founder Jane Vermeulen. “It’s hard to get people out working on their day off.”

Vermeulen started the campaign after she noticed a large population of low-income pets on the streets. Since she started, the homeless population and their pets have increased significantly, with many people reporting problems with Victoria’s housing crisis.

“There are a lot of people who judge and say that homeless people shouldn’t have pets,” Vermeulen said. “They’re going to have pets, that’s just the nature… they shouldn’t be denied companionship because they’re facing a transient time.”

ALSO READ: Victoria woman named ‘woman of worth’ for free vet care program

Preventative services such as vaccines and flea treatment do more than help that one pet; it prevents the spreading of contagious diseases to surrounding pets and prevents infections for people in the homeless population with compromised immune systems.

Now, however, Vermeulen and her team are facing a different set of problems.

“After 10 years we’re also now seeing pets getting older,” she said. “Euthanasia is becoming an issue.”

While the mobile team doesn’t have the resources or licenses to perform euthanasia or diagnostics, a local clinic and crematorium has partnered with Vets for Pets to allow for free euthanasia services where the pet owner can be present.

“If you have no money you may not know you can get your pet euthanized for free, you don’t just need to let it die. It can be humane.”

Since its inception Vets for Pets has teamed up with the BCSPCA and West Coast Sassy Cats to expand the possible services and treatments available. A similar campaign called Helping Paws has also opened up in Nanaimo.

ALSO READ: Esquimalt resident crowned Mrs. Vancouver Island

Vermeulen hopes that more volunteers can step forward for the next scheduled visit on Sunday, Aug. 11.

“Being a vet is a trade. I could definitely serve soup at Our Place, and it’s great that people do, but I can do this,” Vermeulan said, adding that overall very little time is needed. “For 10 hours a year you can help the pets in the downtown core. Only 10 hours, that’s all I’m asking for.”

For more information, or to sign up as a volunteer you can vetsforpetsvictoria.com.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


Send a Tweet: @NicoleCrescenzi

Like us on Facebook  

Just Posted

Nearly a dozen coonhound puppies and their mother to reunite at Saanich park

Dogs’ former foster family initiated one-year reunion plans

Trio brings roller skating fever to Greater Victoria

Roller Skate Victoria offers workshops, summer camps and more

Government Street to be transformed into ‘people-priority’ zone

Victoria city council voted to limit traffic in the area by 2022

Central Saanich Fire Dept. now sun powered – good for budget and environment

Over production of power fed back to grid, results in credits over the winter

Concrete beams for McKenzie interchange set for installation this weekend

No lane closures expected during weekend work, says ministry

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

POLL: Do you carry reusable shopping bags?

While a court ruling determined the City of Victoria’s plastic bag ban… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of July 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Body, burning truck found near northern B.C. town

RCMP unsure if the two separate discoveries are related

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

UPDATE: West Kelowna fawn euthanized, not claimed by sanctuary

Gilbert the deer has been euthanized after a suitable home was not found in time

BC Wildfire Service warns wet weather no reason to be complacent

Fire risk currently low for much of B.C. compared to same time over last two years.

Bank of Canada lowers qualifying rate used in mortgage stress tests

Home sales softened last year after the federal government introduced new stress test rules for uninsured mortgages

Port Hardy RCMP cleared in arrest that left man with broken ribs, punctured lung: IIO

The IIO noted the matter will not be referred to crown counsel for consideration of charges.

Most Read