The Veterinary Hospital of the University of León and the Spanish Red Cross of León have announced they will open two legal clinics and provide basic veterinary care for the domestic pets accompanying homeless people as part of a joint comprehensive homeless assistance project in the province of León.
Spokespersons for the project say that homeless people in the city and province of León are often found to be accompanied by one or more animals, which create difficulties for them both because of existing restrictions on accessing homeless shelters and food banks with animals and because of their inability to always provide adequate food and veterinary care the animals.
As part of the project, the university’s Veterinary Hospital will attempt to help homeless people meet the minimum requirements for having a pet in Spain, providing them with free veterinary services in placing a microchip ID on the animal, de-worming and making sure the animals receive all mandatory vaccinations.
At the same time, the Red Cross will provide legal counsel to the homeless to help ensure they have access to all basic social services, including adequate food and emergency shelter, as well as the possibility of accessing affordable housing options in the community.
The León project is one of several across Spain in which non-governmental organizations and local governments are recognizing the need to provide not only for the needs of the homeless, but also of the animals that accompany them on the streets.
Last week, the municipal council in Madrid announced that homeless people in Spain’s capital will no longer have to choose between finding shelter for the night or abandoning their pets. Now, according to the city government, the homeless in Madrid will be provided with food and shelter and their companion animals will also be ensured of food and veterinary treatment as part of the city’s Family Assistance programs.
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