Coalition for Pets and Public Safety

Mobile clinic brings resources to Los Angeles’ under-served communities

Coalition for Pets and Public Safety

A few decades ago, low-cost veterinary services were practically nonexistent in Los Angeles County – and a dog spay could cost several hundred dollars. This meant most low-income families faced difficult choices. Do they spay or neuter their pet or pay the rent? Do they miss work and drive across town to find a low-cost spay/neuter clinic? Or do they do nothing and deal with the litters that may result?

According to Pam Wilkinson, Executive Director for the Coalition for Pets and Public Safety, “at that time, many low-income pet parents opted to leave their pets intact and hope for the best.” she says.

In 2000, The Coalition launched their organization to right this wrong. They purchased and outfitted a mobile spay/neuter clinic and started rolling into the City of Los Angeles five days a week.

"The Coalition’s first mobile clinic filled an immediate need."

Pet parents embrace the mobile services

The Coalition’s first mobile clinic filled an immediate need. Eventually, they couldn’t keep up with demand for services and added two more mobile clinics, one in 2009 and one in 2013.

They also focused their work on five low-income neighborhoods – Compton, South LA, Carson, El Monte, and Antelope Valley – that badly-need spay/neuter, vaccination and microchip services.

Pet parents eagerly welcomed the mobile services to their neighborhoods. In El Monte, when the mobile clinic pulls into the Petco store parking lot at 7:30 a.m. for their weekly clinic, “some pet parents have already been waiting in line for two hours,” says Wilkinson.

In Compton, when a family with 14 Chihuahuas – all offspring to each other — couldn’t afford to get any of their dogs fixed, they used The Coalition’s mobile clinic held near their house and some grant money to get all 14 dogs fixed in one day. “They could never have afforded this except through our mobile services,” she says.

And in Antelope Valley, a small community located at the western tip of the Mojave Desert and situated between the Tehachapi and San Gabriel Mountains, pet owners no longer have to drive more than an hour to find low-cost veterinary services. “We bring services to their community – and they are very appreciative,” says Wilkinson.

The Coalition’s work continues to grow

Since 2000, The Coalition has sterilized more than 150,000 dogs and cats. As a result, there are fewer stray dogs and cats on the street and fewer euthanized at the city’s animal facility, says Wilkinson.

The Petco Foundation proudly invested more than $350,000 in the Coalition’s lifesaving efforts, including a 2015 investment of $150,000 to expand operations for the second and third mobile clinics to operate five days a week.

“It’s wonderful to see an organization recognize a critical need and then step up to provide the services needed to save lives in these underserved communities,” says Susanne Kogut, Executive Director for the Petco Foundation. “They aren’t just saving animal lives, they are building relationships between people and their pets and creating safer communities. “

Every day, people express their gratitude to The Coalition for bringing these services to their communities. “It’s great to be helping people and pets and making such a difference in their lives,” says Wilkinson.