On any given night in Australia, 1 in 200 are homeless. Today, 22,773 people are experiencing homelessness in Victoria*

Pets in the Park (PITP) has been operating in central Melbourne since 2016, providing free veterinary care for much-loved animal companions of people struggling with homelessness. Today, PITP Central Melbourne clinic are seeking a new venue themselves due to demolition and development work. This means they can no longer use their current location and cannot operate until they find a new site.

“We knew that this location was always on borrowed time, but it came as a real surprise how quickly it happened and that’s no one’s fault. We are so grateful for the support from Wesley Church who were able to provide this location for two years,” said PITP Director Dr Mark Kelman.  Many people struggling with homelessness lead a difficult and isolated life, particularly those who struggle with depression, anxiety and other mental health problems. But for those with pets, their companion animals act as their refuge and give many a reason to live. “For many homeless people, having a pet provides the unconditional love, companionship, emotional support and security that they’re unable to find elsewhere,” said Dr Kelman. 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 to help!

PITP’s volunteer veterinarians and veterinary nurses provide free veterinary care at health clinics and quarterly desexing clinics for much-loved animal companions of people struggling with homelessness across Australia. 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. Sadly, PITP Central Melbourne clinic’s venue at the Wesley Church on Lonsdale Street is being demolished for redevelopment, leaving Melbourne’s homeless people and their pets without support in the middle of winter.   “We were so blessed to have the Wesley Church as our location for the past two years and are really grateful to the team at Wesley for accommodating us for so long,” said Dr Kelman.  “It was a perfect venue with a large indoor hall suitable for all our canine and feline clients. It was able to give us shelter from the elements throughout the cold winter months, allowing us to carry on our vital work, and was a great central location that all our clients knew and could easily get to.”

Now, PITP Central Melbourne clinic needs a new site that can accommodate enough space for four consulting tables that veterinarians can use and, if possible, storage space for some medical supplies. “We do not leave any medications at the venue for safety reasons. It would be great if the new site can have indoor and outdoor space with room to move and be similarly located so that our clients can get to it easily,” said Dr Kelman.  Anyone with a possible venue for the charity is encouraged to please email the team at centralmelbourne@petsinthepark.org,au

Currently, PITP runs other clinics in NSW (including a mobile ‘outreach program’ clinic in Sydney), Queensland, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory. In Victoria, PITP also operates a clinic in Frankston. For more information about this clinic, click here.  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.

To discover more about PITP, visit www.petsinthepark.org.au or follow Facebook.

* www.homelessnessaustralia.org.au/fact-sheets

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