By Brooke Holland

A desire to help low-income, homeless, senior, and disabled residents and their pets has put C.A.R.E.4Paws new mobile veterinary clinic on the road.

The Santa Barbara County nonprofit launched a mobile veterinary service April 1 to provide more spaying and neutering surgeries, treat pets in need of veterinary assistance, and serve residents who may not have transportation to a veterinary clinic.

“We can bring our services directly to those in the community that need it the most,” said Executive Director Isabelle Gullo, who cofounded the organization in 2009 to prevent animals from becoming homeless.

The mobile veterinary staff aids pets on Fridays in their homes or at a central location such as senior-care facilities and assisted-living communities.

“We eliminate any obstacles, not just the lack of finances but also the lack of transportation,” Gullo said of the mobile clinic.

Staff provides services ranging from vaccination and wound treatment to dental cleaning and mass removal, according to Gullo.

Depending on the pet owner’s situation, Gullo said, mobile medical services are offered free or at a low cost.

Clients requesting help must fill out an application and show proof of financial need.

“For the demographic that we focus on, most pet owners can’t afford to pay $100,” she said of veterinary bills. “It’s important that our services are free.”

The 26-foot-long clinic vehicle, which replaced C.A.R.E.4Paws’ aging and lower-capacity Spay Mobile, was financed through grants and private donations.

“The new van allows us to house more animals inside during the day,” Gullo said. “We are also going to be able to house larger dogs.”

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“Medical service for pets can get expensive, and if you’re living on a fixed income it’s hard to provide veterinary care,” Gullo said. “We are providing that bridge so that people don’t have to relinquish their pets due to financial constraints.”

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