Santa Anita Park announced Wednesday that it will provide a home for Free Animal Doctor, a nonprofit organization that uses crowdfunding to provide free veterinary surgeries for animals that are at risk.
Free Animal Doctor’s co-founder, Sam Bernardo, is hoping that the 43-foot-long mobile surgical hospital on a bus frame will be fully operational in Santa Anita’s parking lot 7 by next Tuesday.
“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,” Bernardo said in a statement released by the Arcadia racetrack.
Free Animal Doctor accepts fundraising campaign requests through its website — www.freeanimaldoctor.org — through which donors can see photos of the animals and contribute to a specific animal that needs veterinary surgery.
“We’ve been operating for four years now and 80% of the animals that we’ve displayed on our website have gotten the required funding. With average costs ranging from $800 to $3,000, 30% of families that own these pets cannot afford the surgeries,” Bernardo said.
A wide variety of surgeries will be performed, but spaying and neutering will comprise the majority of procedures taking place at Santa Anita, officials said.
“There is a need for this type of small animal veterinary assistance locally and nationwide,’ said Santa Anita’s Aidan Butler, acting executive director of California 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.”
Santa Anita said its management will be working with the nonprofit group to extend its services at no or low cost to the track’s backside community and other community groups.
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