Florida veterinarian founds program to help homeless people's pets


Grant helps Ocala doctor provide food and basic pet healthcare at local soup kitchen.

Dr. Kevin Stoothoff, owner of South Ocala Animal Clinic in Ocala, Fla., is establishing a program to help the pets of homeless people in his community, according to recent reports by the

Ocala Star-Banner

. He'll provide food and basic veterinary care with the help of a grant from Feeding Pets of the Homeless, an organization based in Carson City, Nev.

Dr. Stoothoff is working with a local soup kitchen, which provides a location for administering the services and helps screen the people asking for help to verify their need. He will go to the soup kitchen twice a month and examine the pets after the participants eat lunch. He'll provide rabies vaccinations, heartworm testing, ear exams, and flea and tick control.

"The dilemma with a lot of these homeless people-a concern they have-they feel if they try to approach anybody for help with pets, they feel their pets would be taken away from them for neglect," Dr. Stoothoff told the newspaper.

Steve Hoesterey, executive director of Brothers Keeper, another local nonprofit group that works with the homeless, says that sometimes people will choose to live in the street rather than give up their pet if an apartment complex, shelter, or motel will not accept animals. “Homeless people with pets have to choose to be homeless because, with a pet, they can't get a place to live," he says.

Click here to learn more about Feeding Pets of the Homeless.

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