They arrived on leashes, in crates, and even in shopping carts. Mastiffs and Malteses, bulldogs and boxers, pit bulls and poodles. From the tiniest teacup Chihuahuas to giant German Shepherds—and even a handful of felines.
More than 300 pets were vaccinated at the ASPCA’s first-ever free clinic at Green Meadows Park on E. 89th and San Pedro Streets in South Los Angeles on Saturday.
In addition to free vaccines, the ASPCA offered free rabies tags and doses of flea and tick preventive, and made appointments for free spay/neuter surgeries for 90 cats and dogs in the coming week at its brand-new, fully-subsidized spay/neuter clinic, located at the South L.A. Animal Care Center.
Magaly Guevara, who lives nearby, arrived at 7 a.m. with her six Chihuahua/terrier mixes in tow: Trouble, Peluche, Quinn, Millhouse, Wednesday and Ladybird. As Dr. Katie Marrie administered shots, Trouble flinched—twice. “She’s a real drama queen,” Magaly admitted.
Andrea Ortiz and her daughters, Tatiana, 6, and Andrea, 12, carried their Chihuahua puppies, Princess and Cloud. Andrea’s mother-in-law Olga Jarquin’s three Chihuahua mixes rested comfortably in a shopping cart.
Closer to the front of the line, Salome Orea and her partner, Patricia Gutierrez, walked their brood of five: Rottweilers, Beauty and Beast; poodle mix Max; Bernese mountain dog mix Kiara; and German shepherd Kane.
Arthur Starks, with his two-year-old, black-and-white pit bull Arthur Jr. (A.J. for short), was grateful for the free vaccines. “A.J. is my one and only,” he said, rattling off the pooch’s many nicknames, which include Pop and Daddy. “He deserves the best.”
Over the past few days, ASPCA community advocates distributed more than 2,000 flyers over a 3.5 mile swath in the nearby [90003 zip code] neighborhood. Over 25 ASPCA staff and volunteers were on hand to man the event, which lasted five hours.
Earlier this year, the ASPCA announced a $25 million, multi-year commitment to save the lives of animals in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area.
“Access to affordable pet care is vital in the effort to save the lives of animals, keeping them healthy, happy, and in their homes,” said Jennifer Anderson, Director of the ASPCA’s South Los Angeles spay/neuter clinic.
Patrick Hunter, who lives in the area, knows this all too well. His dogs Red and Roxy were beneficiaries of the ASPCA’s free services over the summer, and he has since signed up to volunteer. “The ASPCA really helped me out when I needed it,” says Patrick, a cook at a local hospital. On this beautiful fall day, he was distributing free leashes and collars to pet owners in attendance.
At noon, Mitch, a four-month-old tabby who had waited patiently in line for 2½ hours with his owner Monica Cortez, received his vaccines—without any drama.
Luis Vargas’s pit bulls, Boo Boo and Sky, were the last to be vaccinated. “I just got home from work,” said Luis, who is employed at a nearby supermarket. “My mother-in-law told me about this and said ‘you should take your dogs.’” Boo Boo and Sky made it just in time. To learn more about our work in LA, please read our recent cover story in ASPCA Action.