OFFICIAL LAUNCH CEREMONY OF PETS IN THE PARK IN CANBERRA
- Currently, 105,237 people are homeless in Australia and 1,785 people in the ACT don’t have a place to call home (www.homelessnessaustralia.org.au)
- More homeless pet owners to get access to free veterinary care in the ACT
- Launch event held on 3rd November at 2pm at the Salvation Army Hall in Braddon
- Speaking, Rachel Stephen-Smith MLA, Minister for Community Services and Social Inclusion
- Speaking, Hon Dr. Andrew Leigh MP, Shadow Minister for Charity and Not For Profits
Many homeless people or those at risk of homelessness lead a difficult and isolated life. But for those with pets, their companion animals act as their refuge and give them a better quality of life while they are experiencing homelessness.
Since beginning in 2009 in New South Wales, Pets in the Park (PITP) continues to grow as a national charity as it officially launches its community services in the Australian Capital Territory, aimed at helping people in the Canberra area who are experiencing or are at risk of homelessness by providing free veterinary care programs for their companion pets. The launch ceremony is by invitation only.
“For many homeless people, having a pet provides the unconditional love, companionship, emotional support and security that they’re unable to find elsewhere. The benefits of this bond between owner and pet are immense; including increased social, emotional and physical health,” said Dr Mark Westman, PITP Director and Founding Member.
“However, although pet ownership greatly enriches the quality of life of those who are experiencing homelessness, it can at times come at a significant financial cost and result in the forfeiting of personal welfare. This is where Pets in the Park comes in.”
Today, PITP runs free monthly veterinary clinics in NSW (including a mobile ‘outreach program’ clinic in Sydney), Queensland, Victoria and most recently the ACT.
The monthly clinics operate on the first or last Sunday of every month (depending on the clinic) and are run by a strict client referral system.
Pets in the Park in the ACT
The ACT program commenced in April 2017 as a monthly clinic service in collaboration with the Uniting Church Early Morning Centre in the Canberra CBD. The success of this program is reflected in the ethos of sector-wide collaboration to ensure its promotion, support and collective social impact, said Dr Westman.
“Pets in the Park engages with all homeless support services across the ACT to ensure access for those who will benefit from its services,” he said.
Dr Westman said the Pets in the Park team is excited about launching the much-needed program in the ACT and welcomes Rachel Stephen-Smith MLA, Minister for Community Services and Social Inclusion, and the Hon. Dr Andrew Leigh MP, Shadow Minister for Charity and Not For Profits, to speak at the opening ceremony.
“The Ministers’ support of the launch of Pets in the Park in Canberra reflects the perspective and inclusion focus that both the ACT and Commonwealth Governments have for people who are struggling with homelessness, and the investments required in homelessness support services like Pets in the Park for members of our own society who are less privileged than others,” Dr Westman said.
“On behalf of the Pets in the Park National Board, we congratulate the newly formed Canberra Regional Committee on the success of this service currently operating, and anticipate further expansion to other locations in the ACT shortly.”
How can you help Pets in the Park
PITP relies on community donations and the financial support of sponsors and community grants. All donations are 100% tax deductible.
The charity is also supported by veterinary practices that donate surgery space and surgical procedures, as well as the many wonderful volunteers who generously donate their time to health and surgery clinics.