Written by Karen Gellender Friday, 24 July 2009 00:00
In a tough economy, pet care may not appear to be the most pressing of concerns, but a lack of proper care has led to a staggering degree of overpopulation of dogs and cats. That’s why a new non-profit organization, “Helping Promote Animal Welfare” (Helping PAW) intends to provide low cost dog and cat spay and neuter services to Long Islanders with furry companions in need.
Last month, outside of Milleridge Inn in Jericho, Executive Director and primary veterinarian Dr. Diane Levitan unveiled a new mobile veterinary clinic— a state-of-the-art facility housed in a 40-foot Toy Hauler RV. The clinic, which exceeds the care guidelines for spay/neuter programs laid out by the association of Shelter Veterinarians, will soon be making scheduled stops at pet care centers throughout Long Island. Dawn Riley, president of Long Island Animal Alliance/Long Island Cat Program and a Helping PAW Board member, was also on hand to celebrate the unveiling and explain Helping PAW’s mission.
Also celebrating was Nassau County Legislator Edward P. Mangano, who praised the efforts of Dr. Levitan and her team. “We are gathered here today to celebrate a solution— even better than that, a low cost, humane solution,” said Mangano.
With approximately 8 million unwanted dogs and cats headed toward animal shelters this year, and a probable 6 million likely to be euthanized, it’s clear just how desperately that solution is needed.
Eager to help, Dr. Levitan and her colleagues turned the idea for the non-profit organization into reality in a mere six months. “Animal overpopulation is a crisis-level issue,” Dr. Levitan said. “People need to understand that this is a vital part of animal care.”
Since January of this year, Helping PAW has already spayed and neutered 350 dogs and cats, a number likely to increase greatly with the addition of the new mobile clinic.
In addition to providing spay and neutering services, Helping PAW will educate pet owners about the importance of regular visits to the veterinarian— a practice that Helping PAW intends to augment, not replace. In addition, Helping PAW will provide seminars on how to treat animals with respect, otherwise known as Humane Education. And it’s not just about the pets: Dr. Levitan pointed out that teaching children to respect and care for animals will teach important lessons about responsibility, and about respecting each another.
For more information about Helping Paw’s services and donation opportunities, visit www.helpingpaw.org or call 1-888-PET FIXR.