Arizona Animal Welfare League tackles pet care in the Latino community

Lee in spanish

The Arizona Animal Welfare League, in conjunction with PetSmart Charities, is launching a study to understand the pet care needs of the Latino community in Maricopa County. The study is part of an initiative to reduce the number of pets admitted to animal shelters in underserved communities.

“We want to make sure we can keep these animals in their homes,” said Alessandra Navidad, president and CEO of AAWL. “To do this, we need to better understand and understand the needs of pet owners who live and work here in our communities.”

According to Navidad, the Latino community has been disproportionately impacted by lack of access to pet care services and information, which is why the organization partners with PetSmart charities to run clinics. monthly pet magazines that serve approximately 150 pet owners every third Saturday of the month.

The clinics offer low-cost services to everyone who attends and free vaccines to pet owners who live in the four targeted Latino-majority zip codes in Maricopa County: 85034, 85006, 85008, and 85009 – the same zip codes that the study is focusing on, Navidad said.

Vets and veterinary nurses prepare vaccines at the Arizona Animal Welfare League just before a vaccination clinic that offers free or low-cost vaccines for pets every 3rd Saturday.

“We know these are low-income, underserved areas, and they don’t get a lot of the services that other communities get, and that affects animals and pets,” Navidad said.

The targeted areas are also among the top 10 ZIP codes with the highest rates of pet abandonment in Maricopa, Navidad said.

Sergio Delgado lives in one of the four targeted postcodes. He visited the organized pet clinic on Saturday and said the services were more accessible than at regular veterinary clinics.

Delgado took her two daughters and their dogs, Tiny and Flower, to the clinic. Both pets received free vaccines against rabies, Parvo and Bordetella.

“(The vaccination deadline) expired in September and we were having trouble finding appointments,” Delgado told The Arizona Republic. “Today, honestly, I didn’t know how much I was going to pay, but they said it was covered.”

Freddie Lerma’s 5-year-old dog, Ziggie, was also vaccinated against rabies, distemper and Bordetella at the clinic. Because Lerma lives outside designated ZIP codes, he was charged $45 for his visit.

“Which is amazing,” Lerma said. “The cost is really stopping a lot of people from getting (the care) because it’s a bit expensive and especially now that people’s money is a bit tighter. So good value for money to get your pet is excellent.”

The pop-up pet clinic offers translation services for Spanish-speaking clients.

To participate in a clinic, pet owners must register. Appointments for the next clinic on March 19 can be set at or by dialing 480-618-1637.

Financial and Language Barriers Impact Latinos’ Access to Pet Care

Natalia Kusiak registers her golden retriever, Oatmeal, at the Arizona Animal Welfare League Vaccination Clinic.

Aimee Gilbreath, president of PetSmart Charities, said that while organizations currently provide affordable resources to the community, it’s important to continue to study the underlying needs of the community so that their efforts can be better directed toward the fight. against the obstacles that pet owners face.

“The financial barriers are huge, and they’re the biggest barrier for many people to accessing pet care, but they’re not the only barriers,” she said.

According to Navidad, two of the biggest barriers that could affect community access to resources and information are language and trust in the system.

“We (Latinos) don’t know where to call, we don’t know where to get this information, which organizations can help us,” Navidad said. “I think for us (Latinos), access to information is definitely lacking and trust as well.”

Navidad said she thinks the community often feels deprived of representation in government and the system, which she says can lead to a lack of trust in the services offered by nonprofits.

“What we want to do with this study is improve this relationship between our organization, the shelter, and the Latino community so that we can better serve them,” she said.

AAWL plans to partner with a Phoenix-based research team to conduct a bilingual community survey of a minimum of 600 community members. According to a press release from AAWL, the study will include individual surveys, bilingual focus groups and in-person interviews with leaders of the Latino community.

According to Navidad, the organizations expect this to be a long-term project to fully assess the needs of pet owners. The research phase and subsequent problem-solving projects will be funded by a $167,000 grant to AAWL from PetSmart Charities.

“For us, it’s important for Latinos to know that we’re here, that we provide them with veterinary services … that can help them with all of these needs that they have regarding their pets,” Navidad said.

Contact breaking news reporter Laura Daniella Sepulveda at [email protected] or on Twitter @lauradNews.

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