Veterinarians Provide Relief for Gulf Coast Pet Owners

Atlanta, GA. As I've reported here, and Anderson Cooper on CNN has reported, and others....Shelters in the Gulf Coast area are filling up fast, over-flowed because cash strapped pet owners are giving up their loved ones with paws. Some pet owners are managing to hold on to their animals, but aren't able to provide appropriate medical care.

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As a huge first step Merial's Paws to Save Pets and Hill's Pet Nutrition have partnered with the American Veterinary Medical Foundation to offer support to the tune of $145,000 in direct funding as well as pet food products to help reimburse veterinary clinics that are generously providing free services and goods to clients who's income has been impacted by the Gulf Coast oil spill. For starters, 90 vet clinics and five shelters in the region will receive the aid.

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As an illustration of the commitment from Hill's (Science Diet products), the company's president and CEO Neil Thompson personally helped to make the announcement at the American Veterinary Medical Association Convention in Atlanta. "We're aware because of our long-standing relationships with shelters, what's been overlooked are families with pets, and people are regrettably giving up pets to shelters," he says.

Of course, the goal is to avoid that from happening, and insuring proper veterinary care along the way, said Dr. Mary Bryant, director of professional services at Merial. It turns out that Merial has had lots of experience in the region, Paws to Save pets began greatly as a result of Hurricane's Katrina and Rita, and has since been involved in helping those in need with their pets in the aftermath of several hurricanes, wildfires and floods.

The American Veterinary Medical Foundation is the charitable arm of the American Veterinary Medical Association. AVMF executive director Michael Cathey was asked if BP has been contacted, and at least offer to provide some assistance. Cathey attempted to put a positive spin on, maintaining that BP is helping those who help wildlife (which veterinarians do too, and some would question how engaged in helping wildlife BP has been, at least so far). In any case, no calls to BP has been answered.

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