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Emancipet joins historic coalition to spay/neuter 20,000 dogs and cats in Puerto Rico
May 18, 2018
AUSTIN — Emancipet is one of six organizations leading the surgical work in a historic initiative to spay/neuter and vaccinate more than 20,000 dogs and cats in Puerto Rico, which is still struggling to recover more than six months after the devastation of Hurricane Maria.
A team of 16 Emancipet veterinarians and staff, including Emancipet CEO Amy Mills, will deploy to Puerto Rico June 3-9 for the first of what will be four trips included in “Spayathon for Puerto Rico,” developed by the Humane Society of the United States. Emancipet will be the surgical provider for the Manati sector of the island.
Emancipet and its staff are uniquely experienced in hurricane recovery. Its Houston clinic undertook an extraordinary effort following Hurricane Harvey, providing three months of free veterinary care to people and pets impacted by the crisis and its aftermath, including more than 1,000 spay/neuter surgeries and more than 13,500 vaccinations. Emancipet Houston branch manager DeWayne Compton who helped manage the post-Harvey effort, will be part of the crew in Puerto Rico.
Emancipet CEO Amy Mills also has on-the-ground experience with helping people and animals after a crisis. As a volunteer, Mills had a life-changing experience following the 2011 tornado in Joplin, Missouri, where she helped families reunite families with pets lost during the storm.
“It’s an honor to be invited to be part of this tremendous coalition and to be able to make a difference where it is so desperately needed,” Mills said. “Our team will establish a MASH-style surgical center with brand new, state-of-the-art equipment that we are shipping to Puerto Rico and setting up inside a community center. Our goal is to spay or neuter at least 500 animals per trip.”
This initiative also has a second important goal, which is to build more capacity for free and low cost spay/neuter in Puerto Rico after the conclusion of the project. The HSUS, through a partnership with the ASPCA Spay/Neuter Alliance, is offering high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter training for Puerto Rico veterinarians to increase the number of veterinarians on the island who can safely provide these services. In addition, at the conclusion of the 18-month project, all the surgical partners, including Emancipet, will donate their surgical equipment and supplies to local veterinarians, to help further the animal welfare efforts in Puerto Rico.
“This initiative is a remarkable example of what can happen when government agencies, nonprofits and veterinary medical professionals come together for one cause,” said Kitty Block, Acting President and CEO of the HSUS. “This collaboration will make a difference and improve the welfare of Puerto Rico’s animals.”
The HSUS’ Humane State Puerto Rico program worked closely with coalition partners Gov. Ricardo Rosselló and First Lady Beatriz Rosselló, the Puerto Rico Veterinary Medical Association and the Puerto Rico Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners to sign a memorandum of understanding to implement the initiative over an 18-month period in 2018 and 2019.
The other five surgical lead partners are Veterinarians for Puerto Rico, ViDAS, Helping Paws Across Borders, the Colegio de Médicos Veterinarios de Puerto Rico and Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at Cornell University. Each will be supported by a ground partner team comprised of local organizations leading the advance work of spreading the word about the available services, translating, checking in patients, and other volunteer duties not related to surgery. Emancipet’s ground partner team is the Humane Society of Puerto Rico.
The other ground partner teams are The Sato Project, Friends of Culebra Animals, Our Big Fat Caribbean Rescue, The Puerto Rico Dog Fund, The Humane Society of Puerto Rico and Wild at Heart.
Maddie’s Fund® and other non-profit organizations, including PetSmart Charities, Petco Foundation, GreaterGood.org and The 20/22 Act Society, are providing the financial support necessary to carry out this initiative. Other groups like Banfield Foundation, Best Friends Animal Society and Rescue Bank are providing critical supplies, such as vaccines, pet food and crates.
The no-cost spay/neuter clinics will take place throughout the following dates:
Round 1: June 3-9, 2018 – Ceiba, Culebra, Manati, Moca, Ponce, San Juan and Vieques
Round 2: November 3-9, 2018 – Cabo Rojo, Ceiba, Culebra, Manati, Moca, Ponce, San Juan and Vieques
Round 3: February 3-9, 2019 – Cabo Rojo, Ceiba, Culebra, Manati, Moca, Ponce, San Juan and Vieques
Round 4: May 3-9, 2019 – Cabo Rojo, Ceiba, Culebra, Manati, Moca, Ponce and Vieques
Emancipet’s mission is to make veterinary care affordable and accessible for all pet owners. To achieve this, Emancipet is building a national nonprofit low-cost veterinary care system, with clinics in underserved areas of Austin, Houston, Killeen, and Pflugerville Texas; and in Philadelphia. Emancipet advocates for public policy that improves the lives of pets in underserved communities, and operates Emancipet New School, which equips and inspires animal welfare professionals in becoming change makers. Since its founding in 1999, Emancipet has spayed or neutered more than 275,000 dogs and cats and will serve more than 100,000 pets and their families this year. www.emancipet.org
Links to Recent Media Coverage
OnPets.com Interview with CEO, Amy Mills
Press Release: Emancipet, Animal Trustees of Austin explore merger
Rockdale Reporter Community Support Keeps Emancipet Here
Austin Business Journal 70 young professionals in Austin to know: The 2015 AU40 finalists
Austin Monthly The Right to Live
News Release: Emancipet expands to Houston
Houston Press Best of 2015 – Emancipet Selected as Best Spay/Neuter Clinic
Houston Public Media City Of Houston Contracts With Nonprofit To Reduce Stray Animal Population
City of Houston Newsroom City Council Approves Major Initiative to Decrease Animal Overpopulation
Houston Chronicle Nonprofit enlisted to help Houston’s staggering stray population
Houston Business Journal Spay/neuter nonprofit plans big Houston expansion, hiring
La Voz de Houston Houston aporta otro recurso para combatir a los perros callejeros
Houston Chronicle Council grapples with new program for neighborhood fixes