ASPCA Community Veterinary Centers Fill Much-Needed Space in New York Communities
A Landmark Year for the Bronx CVC
When beloved dog Coco started acting strangely, her pet parent Mari knew that something was wrong.
“I took her to my primary vet, who couldn’t see her. I took her to multiple places in one day,” says Mari, Coco’s pet parent. “I finally went to an emergency room and I was told that she basically wouldn’t make it through the weekend if she didn’t get surgery. I was in tears, I was afraid.”
Coco was suffering from a life-threatening infection called pyometra, and quick action was needed to help the small dog. Overwhelmed by the cost of the surgery and following a recommendation that she try the ASPCA Bronx Community Veterinary Center (CVC) for help, Mari was able to quickly get Coco the surgery and veterinary care she needed without the worry of an unmanageable vet bill.
The Bronx CVC opened in March 2020, offering partially and fully subsidized preventive and basic care to dogs and cats and giving the community a much-needed option for veterinary resources. Since opening, the CVC has been able to provide care for nearly 12,000 animals—helping people and pets in the community through essential veterinary care, resources and support.
The CVC has also impacted Bronx residents like Jaqueline C., who is disabled and unable to work. She had few options when her one-year-old cat, S’mores, started spraying, consequently destroying her bathroom floor and leaving behind a persistent odor unique to intact male cats. S’mores—like many of the animals in our lives—is more than a beloved pet, he is a source of comfort for Jaqueline’s daughter, Maya, who experiences anxiety. With neighbors complaining and uncertainty around veterinary service costs, the possibility of rehoming their pet was becoming more of a reality. Jaqueline was referred to the ASPCA and was scheduled for an appointment at the CVC where S’mores was able to get care and a neuter surgery to help curb his spraying at no cost to Jacqueline.
Providing access to services in underserved communities to animals like Coco and S’mores, is one of the many ways that the ASPCA is working to keep more pets in their loving homes and improve their quality of life. With more than 21 million pet owners and pets living in poverty—and the pandemic only worsening that statistic—our services have been vital.
“When you’re in these situations where you see your dog sick, you realize how much they mean to you in those moments, and how being without them is a devastating thought,” says Mari of Coco. “It means the world to me that the ASPCA prioritized her life so that she can have more time with me.”
Expanding Our Community Impact in Brooklyn
Building on the success of the Bronx CVC, the ASPCA Brooklyn CVC, recently celebrated its grand opening. The Brooklyn CVC, which was supported by the Alex and Elisabeth Lewyt Charitable Trust, serves East New York, an area with limited existing resources for veterinary care, similar to our facility in the Bronx. Before construction of the Brooklyn CVC was even complete, our team was hard at work operating a mobile clinic in the parking lot to help underserved pet owners at the mercy of the pandemic.
And now, we are thrilled to have a permanent, state-of-the-art facility that offers partially and fully subsidized veterinary care to Brooklyn residents. The Center will also provide high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter surgeries and vaccinations to homeless dogs and cats being cared for by animal rescue organizations, including Animal Care Centers of New York City, expanding our services to the animal rescue community.
“Providing accessible and affordable veterinary services for pets whose owners face financial challenges sustains the health and safety of those animals and helps keep families together,” said Matt Bershadker, ASPCA CEO. “This Community Veterinary Center in Brooklyn will provide those vital resources to residents and local pets who need it more than ever during this unprecedented public health and economic crisis. Following in the footsteps of our CVC in the Bronx and stationary and mobile ASPCA clinics throughout the city, the Brooklyn CVC is another symbol of our deep and longstanding commitment to the welfare of New York City pets and people.”
“We’ve seen how difficult it can be to provide pets with veterinary care especially in locations where accessibility is scarce,” says Dr. Lori Bierbrier, Senior Medical Director for ASPCA Community Medicine in NYC. “Our goal is to keep pets and their families together, which is why we continue to expand our work in New York City. We’re so excited to have our Bronx and Brooklyn CVCs open. And we’re excited to keep growing and expanding even further.”
The Bronx and Brooklyn CVCs are two of three centers we’re building across New York City, with an additional facility opening in Queens in 2022. Beyond New York City, our programs in Los Angeles and Miami also provide veterinary services to communities in need.
The ASPCA strives to provide a model for animal welfare organizations across the country, so together, we can work to eliminate barriers to veterinary care that can separate pets from their devoted families.