The St. Francis House Pet Care Clinic was founded in September 2007 by Gainesville veterinarian Dale Kaplan-Stein, community animal advocate Chris Machen, and Dr. Natalie Isaza, Director of the new Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine. The Clinic was registered as a non-profit corporation in the state of Florida on January 1, 2010, and was granted federal status as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization in the spring of 2010.
Goals of the Clinic are 1) to provide professional non-emergency veterinary care and consultation to the pets of homeless and very low income residents of Alachua County, including veterans referred from the VA; 2) to teach responsible pet ownership, and 3) to encourage the spaying/neutering of dogs and cats. We also provide monthly flea and heartworm preventives, food for cats and dogs, and pet supplies. We try to keep people and the pets they love together so that the animals don't end up in shelters because their owners can't take care of them.
The St. Francis House Pet Care Clinic is a walk-in facility that originally operated in back of the St. Francis House, a Gainesville soup kitchen and homeless shelter. In October, 2011 the Clinic moved to temporary quarters generously provided by the Civic Media Center at 433 S. Main Street. We now have a wonderful building of our own at 501 SE 2nd St. in Gainesville, just north of the RTS Downtown Station.
Clinic is held from 10am until noon every Tuesday, with food and medicine distribution available until 1:00. Experienced local veterinarians and UF faculty are assisted by junior and senior veterinary students taking the elective shelter medicine rotation at the University of Florida. They provide exams, consultations, vaccinations, and treatment for ailments and injury to the pets of more than five hundred local residents. Many vet students are so motivated by their work at the free clinic that they return as volunteers when their rotations are over.
We will not accept a new client into our program until all of the dogs and cats in the household are sterilized. We arrange for spay/neuter and provide transportation for the animals to and from surgery when necessary.
The St. Francis House Pet Care Clinic is an entirely volunteer organization -- we have no paid staff. We are grateful for our many wonderful volunteers and for the generous
support of the local community. More volunteers, veterinary
professionals, donations of money and supplies, and general community involvement are needed to keep the Clinic going.
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