Thanks to the generous donations from Charlene Savage, the AHF was able to begin a program which helps pets of the Orange County homeless population. In conjunction with the SCVVC (Society for California Veterinary & Vaccine Care), we have implemented 3 Mobile Clinics in Orange County since last fall. These test programs went so well, that the AHF Board od Trustees has committed to sponsoring 1 program a month through mid-2018.
The 3 clinics have been held by the OC Civic Center in Santa Ana, Mary's Kitchen in Orange and The Courtyard (old bus station) in Santa Ana. The clinics have helped approximately 100 of the homeless populations' pets with vaccinations, microchips, de-wormings, ear and eye exams and treatments, and flea and tick control prevention. The majority of animals were dogs, but we also helped cats, pet rats and rabbits!
Unfortunately, homelessness has become a permanent part of the fabric of our society. Based on Orange County Homeless Count & Survey Report, which is done every two years (the most current data available is for 2015), the number of homeless has increased from 2013 by 5%. And of those that are homeless, 61% do not have shelter (compared to 51% from the 2013 survey). The reasons for such a high percentage of homeless not having shelter has not been fully explored, but one reason is pet ownership. For many homeless, pets play an important role, especially in terms of emotional support in their lives. The exact percentage of homeless having pets has not been fully surveyed, but the percentage might be as high as 25%. A recent study of homeless youth (Rhoades et. al. (2015) “Pet Ownership among Homeless Youth: Associations with Mental Health, Service Utilization and Housing Status,” Child Psychiatry Human Development 46(2):237-244) found pet ownership to be 23%, with pet ownership being associated with fewer signs of depression and loneliness.
Future events will be announced on our website at http://www.animalhealthfoundation.net/events.
If you have any questions concerning this program, please contact our Executive Director at email@example.com