SANTA ANITA TO PROVIDE HOME FOR NON-PROFIT ‘FREE ANIMAL DOCTOR’ AS SURGERIES WILL BE PERFORMED FREE OF CHARGE TO PET OWNERS
ON-SITE FACILITY, WITH OPERATING ROOM & SURGICAL PREP AREA TO OPEN SEPT. 15
ARCADIA, Calif. (Sept. 9, 2020)–With an estimated 25 percent of America’s pet owners unable to afford necessary veterinary care for approximately 24 million dogs and cats, Santa Anita Park will now provide a home for the non-profit Free Animal Doctor, which provides free veterinary surgeries for at-risk animals. Santa Anita management will also be working with Free Animal Doctor to extend its services to the track’s backside community and other community groups in need, at no or low cost.
“There is a need for this type of small animal veterinary assistance locally and nationwide,” said Santa Anita’s Aidan Butler, Acting Executive Director, CA Racing Operations for The Stronach Group. “We are well positioned to provide the assistance needed for the Free Animal Doctor clinic to administer necessary care for these precious animals, and we’re honored to do so. We’ve let them know we are here to help in any way that we can.”
Free Animal Doctor (FAD), utilizes Crowdfunding to raise monies for specific pets and provides detailed itemized cost accounting which is directed by each animal’s attending veterinarian.
“This serves to self-authenticate the cost of each surgery,” said FAD co-founder Sam Bernardo, who hopes to have FAD’s veterinary “bus” fully operational in Santa Anita’s parking Lot 7 by Sept. 15. “Once the money is raised for each individual animal’s procedure, no additional money is accepted.”
Although a wide variety of surgeries will be performed, spaying and neutering will comprise the majority of the procedures taking place at Santa Anita. This important work also helps to assist community shelters from being overwhelmed by dogs and cats that do not have homes.
Bernardo, who is a practicing attorney, founded FAD four years ago with Ryan Boyd, who works in the local real estate industry.
“Our ‘bus’ is actually a 43-foot long mobile surgical hospital on a bus frame,” said Bernardo. “The facility was originally designed and used by the Spay, Neuter Action Program of San Diego. They donated it to us and we are so thankful that Santa Anita is providing us a home with independent sources of electricity and water, which are vital for surgical procedures.
“We’ve been operating for four years now and 80 percent of the animals that we’ve displayed on our website have gotten the required funding. With average costs ranging from $800 to $3,000, thirty percent of families that own these pets cannot afford the surgeries.”
Those interested are encouraged to visit FAD’s website at www.freeanimaldoctor.org, where a photo and detailed description of each at-risk pet is provided.