ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Several organizations teamed up with the Street Dog Coalition for a free clinic, to help the pets of people who don’t have a place to stay or are at risk of becoming homeless.
“When we take care of humans, we want to take care of animals. When we take care of animals, we want to take care of the people as well,” Organizer Claudia Mendez told WFXR.
On Wednesday, they offered vaccinations, pet supplies, and exams for animals, as well as Covid-19 vaccinations for their owners.
Bryanna Young bought in one of her cats for a check-up, vaccinations, and microchip.
“Pay not going up but housing and everything else going up is … it’s a lot, but I try to take care of myself and my animals,” she said.
She says she was at risk of being homeless just a few months ago.
“I was going from shelters here in Roanoke to moving here with friends, depending on where I’m going to get my next meal from. It’s a lot,” said Young.
She says she’d like to see more empty space downtown be used to accommodate those who are homeless.
“We have a lot of buildings that are just boarded up that I feel like we can just put some heating into, get some people in there to help get food and put some beds in there,” Young added.
Physician David Sullivan with Fralin Free Clinic believes the root of the cause needs to be addressed as well.
“It has to do with mental illness, and it has to do with the general economy as we have now. So, there’s a lot of different aspects to homelessness,” he said.
Young says she’d like to see organizations offer free services more often and make sure the people who need them know about it.
The Street Dog Coalition says it plans to do that with its clinics. They plan to have another one at the end of this month to offer pet care services and Covid-19 booster shots. They plan to hold another one in May, as well. All the clinics are completely free.
The Street Dog Coalition is a national nonprofit organization. The New River Valley team was recently established. They say they hope to continue these quarterly clinics for the foreseeable future.