Aug 7, 2023 - News

PAWS hits the road with new mobile vet clinic

Van that reads PAWS Chicago on back windshield next to a mural with a dog with a cone and a cat.

Photo courtesy of PAWS Chicago.

PAWS Chicago is launching a mobile clinic this month that will bring free veterinary care to South and West Side neighborhoods.

Why it matters: West Englewood, Englewood, Woodlawn and Back of the Yards are "pet resource deserts," where accessing vet clinics is disproportionately difficult, according to PAWS.

How it works: The mobile clinic is the size of an ambulance, with room for people and animals, plus refrigerators, exam tables, medications and, of course, a veterinarian.

  • Pet owners can make appointments with the program for services including pet vaccinations and treatment of infections.

Between the lines: The clinic is about relationship-building in these communities and sharing information about other vet care offered at their centers, especially spaying and neutering.

  • The mobile clinic can help schedule those surgeries, which PAWS offers free to eligible owners.

What they're saying: Spaying and neutering help decrease the number of stray animals born in an area, PAWS says. Too many strays can also lead to euthanasia.

  • "We want to turn Chicago into a 'no-kill city,'" PAWS Chicago CEO Susanna Wickham tells Axios.

Zoom in: PAWS identified the four neighborhoods based on ZIP codes that made the most 311 calls related to stray animals over the last 20 years.

  • There's a high population of feral cats in these areas because they're not spayed and neutered, Wickham says.
  • Wickham says many of the pet owners they meet in those four neighborhoods took in a stray or a family member's pet and want to get the animal proper care.

What's next: PAWS anticipates launching the mobile clinic the week of August 21. Ogden Park will be a frequent location.


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