New St. Francis Pet Care Clinic Breaks Ground This Month

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - To donate, contact Dr. Kaplan-Stein at (352) 871-2843
On Sunday, April 22, the St. Francis Pet Care Clinic will host a charity dog wash at One Love Cafe from 11am to 1pm to raise funds for their new building.

St. Francis Pet Care Clinic was founded in 2007. One of the three co-founders, Dr. Dale Kaplan-Stein says only 30% of pets in the US see a veterinarian. She believes money should not separate the special bond between a pet and their owner.

The non-profit is one of the only in the country to offer free medical services for pets belonging to low-income families. The organization is supported entirely by volunteers. Every Tuesday, about volunteers, donate their time at the clinic. Several of those are University of Florida veterinarian students who are working on two-week rotations at the clinic. They are the first to see the animals and work with licensed vets to care for them. The UF Veterinarian Community Outreach Program works closely with the clinic.

But it’s not just the vets in training who learn. The clinic aims to teach pet owners how to take care of their animals and the importance of spay and neutering. The clinic will turn away people who will not spay and neuter their animal because they want to keep animals from ending up in animal shelters.

The current building is only 700 square feet and has a leaky roof and exam rooms that double as a bathroom and food closet. Zoning requirements have made it difficult for the non-profit to acquire a proper building for their expansion in the past in the part of town accessible for their patients.

Their new building will break ground this month next to the Saint Francis House. When it’s completed in October, they’ll have 6 exam rooms, an outdoor waiting area, a garden for euthanasia, and office space. A lobby area can be used as a lecture space, which they hope will educate students, pet owners, and will give other cities the idea to implement similar clinics.