League receives major grants supporting new community outreach program

The League for Animal Welfare today announced two major grants in support of a new Community Outreach Program aimed at bringing affordable and accessible veterinary care to rural, underserved counties in Ohio and Kentucky.

The League, which operates Greater Cincinnati’s first and largest no-kill animal shelter, has received a $200,000 grant from The Joanie Bernard Foundation. Coupled with a $100,000 donation from a private donor, the Bernard grant has made possible the purchase of a 26-foot, fully equipped mobile veterinary clinic.

The mobile veterinary unit currently is being used to provide on-site veterinary care for the League’s resident dogs and cats, eliminating the need for transport to a local vet, thereby reducing both costs and stress on the animals. The next step, according to League Executive Director Marilyn Goodrich, is to take the mobile unit into outlying communities that lack access to veterinary care.

Beginning this fall, the League will start scheduling Community Outreach clinics in Adams and Brown counties in Ohio, and Bracken County in Kentucky.

“In some of these rural areas, there is no veterinarian within 40 miles,” Goodrich said. “People in these counties may be struggling to make ends meet, but they very much want to be responsible in ensuring that their pets are spayed or neutered and that they can get veterinary care that’s affordable for them. This is the very real need that our Community Outreach Program will meet.”

The Community Outreach clinics will provide low-cost veterinary exams, shots, flea/tick and other preventative medications, as well as dentals and x-rays as needed for dogs and cats in those communities.  The Bernard grant also will fund vouchers for free cat spay/neuters, while a grant from the Waddell Family Foundation will subsidize vaccines for dogs.

Goodrich said animals in rural county shelters also will be examined and spayed or neutered during these visits, with shelter animals being treated in the morning and community clinics being held in the afternoon. Ultimately, she said, the plan is to develop a regular schedule of visits to these communities, publicized through the county shelters.

“In doing our due diligence when planning for the Community Outreach  Program, we approached a number of shelter managers in these counties,” Goodrich said. “They confirmed the need for a program such as this, and said people in their communities are desperate for access to spay/neuter and basic veterinary care for their companion animals. They wanted this to happen yesterday.”

Goodrich said pricing for the mobile clinics still is being determined, but noted that subsidies will cover most of the costs. She noted that while costs to consumers will be kept low, slight mark-ups for medications and other services will enable the League to staff and operate these clinics on a break-even basis.

“We are so grateful for the support we have received from The Joanie Bernard Foundation and our other donors,” Goodrich said. “Not only are we now able to provide on-site veterinary care for our own animals, but we will bring much-needed veterinary services to outlying areas that are in desperate need. This is a huge step forward in the League’s history, and we are thrilled with the prospect of expanding our mission to help even more people and animals in need.”

The League for Animal Welfare is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, founded in 1949 to serve the Greater Cincinnati area. It has received the highest four-star rating from Charity Navigator, reflecting its sound fiscal management and operations. The League’s shelter is situated on a 20-acre campus, located in the Eastgate area across from the Clermont County Airport. At any one time, 40 dogs and up to 100 cats are available for adoption at the League.