Vet students care for homeless animals in South Florida

Renowned for its shelter-friendly programs, the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine in Gainesville recently teamed with a government-run animal shelter to improve the chances of adoption for homeless animals in South Florida.


Besides potentially helping to house hounds and foster felines, UF will provide academic guidance to shelters while educating its veterinary medical students — creating a one-of-a-kind collaboration.


“We are thrilled at the opportunity to combine what we offer in academic veterinary medicine with the day-to-day needs of the animal welfare community in South Florida,” James Lloyd, D.V.M., the college's dean, said, terming the arrangement “a win-win-win for all, most importantly the homeless animals, veterinary medical students and ultimately the people of Miami-Dade County.”  


Through the program, groups of up to half a dozen students will take turns participating in a clinical training including two-week rotations at the Miami-Dade shelter, under faculty supervision.


“Although the pet adoption rates … are already commendable, particularly for a shelter of its size, partnership with UF will further strengthen its success,” Lloyd said.


The program was made possible by the Miami-Dade County Commission; the county’s mayor, Carlos Gimenez; its animal services department and the South Florida Veterinary Medical Association.


“I am extremely excited knowing that the Miami-Dade Animal Services Department will help provide veterinary medical students with hands-on experience they need,” Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz, said. “This partnership with the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine, the state’s only veterinary college, will help the county achieve its goal of eliminating shelter kills by humanely reducing the pet population through spaying and neutering.”


 The UF College of Veterinary Medicine is supported by funding from UF Health and the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.


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