Free Veterinary Care for Homeless in Philadelphia


Philadelphia, PA  (July 28, 2022)—Pet owners in Philadelphia experiencing homelessness will be able to receive free veterinary examinations for their animals and complimentary food and essential supplies at an event organized by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and The Street Dog Coalition.

The clinic will be held July 31 from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm at Norris Square Park during the AVMA’s annual convention, being held this year in Philadelphia, and is sponsored by Merck Animal Health and Hill’s Pet Nutrition, with support from the Philadelphia Convention Center and Visit Philadelphia. Care teams will consist of one volunteer veterinarian licensed to practice in Pennsylvania plus 2-3 veterinary technicians and other support staff.

Along with health checks and basic care for the pets, each pet owner will be provided with a hygiene kit for themselves and, for their pets, dog food, a collapsible water/food bowl, treats, toys, leashes and collars. Merck Animal Health, the national partner of The Street Dog Coalition, is providing all the vaccines for the clinic and preventatives such as heartworm and flea/tick medications, along with dog bowls and other supplies as needed. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, a global leader in science-led nutrition, will provide up to 350 free bags of dog and cat food. For spaying, neutering and other surgeries, owners will be referred to local veterinarians who donate or reduce the cost of in-office procedures.

“Pets offer us love and companionship, and in return we need to provide them with care and nutrition, but when the owner is homeless, sometimes giving the animal everything that it needs is challenging,” said Dr. Jose Arce, President of the AVMA. “As we return to an in-person Convention, we are delighted and thankful that we can join with The Street Dog Coalition, Merck Animal Health and Hill’s Pet Nutrition to offer high-quality, free veterinary services and supplies to these animals in our host city of Philadelphia.”

“People living on the street are often isolated, and their pets offer them companionship, protection, and help them navigate dangerous places and give them purpose,” said Dr. Jon Geller, the veterinarian who founded The Street Dog Coalition in Colorado in 2015. “We’re committed to protecting the human-animal bond. It’s amazing what we can do when we come together to make these clinics happen.”

“Providing access to veterinary care, regardless of one’s living situation, brings peace of mind in knowing their pet is receiving high-quality care,” said Dr. Christine Royal, Merck Animal Health Associate Vice President, U.S. Companion Animal and Equine. “At Merck Animal Health, we are committed to protecting the human-animal bond and know how important pets are for bringing companionship, safety, and purpose to our lives. We are proud to donate our medicines, vaccines and volunteer hours to The Street Dog Coalition in order to support pet owners in Philadelphia and other cities across the U.S.”

“Hill’s Pet Nutrition is proud to partner with the AVMA and The Street Dog Coalition to support this important initiative to help pets and the people who love them,” said Dr. Karen Shenoy, Chief Veterinary Officer of Hill’s Pet Nutrition US. “Just as with people, regular care and proper nutrition are essential for pets to live long, healthy lives.”

For more information on the clinic or other media opportunities at the AVMA Convention, to schedule interviews, and to register as a press attendee, please contact Michael San Filippo, AVMA senior media relations specialist, at (847) 732-6194 (cell) or


# # #


About the AVMA

Serving more than 99,500 member veterinarians, the AVMA is the nation’s leading representative of the veterinary profession, dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of animals, humans and the environment. Founded in 1863 and with members in every U.S. state and territory and more than 60 countries, the AVMA is one of the largest veterinary medical organizations in the world. Informed by our members’ unique scientific training and clinical knowledge, the AVMA supports the crucial work of veterinarians and advocates for policies that advance the practice of veterinary medicine and improve animal and human health.

 About The Street Dog Coalition

The Street Dog Coalition provides free medical care and related services to pets of people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness. Using a ‘One Health’ approach to street medicine, SDC cares for the lives on both ends of the leash. They have teams in over fifty cities across the United States, and continue to grow thanks to generous volunteers, donors, sponsors, and community partners. For more information, visit and connect with SDC on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

About Merck Animal Health

At Merck, known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, we are unified around our purpose: We use the power of leading-edge science to save and improve lives around the world. For more than a century, we’ve been at the forefront of research, bringing forward medicines, vaccines and innovative health solutions for the world’s most challenging diseases. Merck Animal Health, a division of Merck & Co., Inc., Rahway, N.J., USA, is the global animal health business unit of Merck. Through its commitment to The Science of Healthier Animals®, Merck Animal Health offers veterinarians, farmers, pet owners and governments one of the widest ranges of veterinary pharmaceuticals, vaccines and health management solutions and services as well as an extensive suite of connected technology that includes identification, traceability and monitoring products. Merck Animal Health is dedicated to preserving and improving the health, well-being and performance of animals and the people who care for them. It invests extensively in dynamic and comprehensive R&D resources and a modern, global supply chain. Merck Animal Health is present in more than 50 countries, while its products are available in some 150 markets. For more information, visit and connect with us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About Hill’s Pet Nutrition

Founded more than 80 years ago with an unwavering commitment to science-based pet nutrition, Hill’s Pet Nutrition is on a mission to help enrich and lengthen the special relationships between people and their pets. Hill’s is dedicated to pioneering research for dogs and cats using a scientific understanding of their specific needs. As a leading veterinarian recommended pet food brand, knowledge is our first ingredient with 220+ veterinarians, PhD nutritionists and food scientists working to develop breakthrough innovations in pet health. Hill’s Prescription Diet therapeutic nutrition plus our everyday foods, Hill’s Science Diet, Hill’s Healthy Advantage and Hill’s Bioactive Recipe, are sold at vet clinics and pet specialty retailers worldwide. For more information about our products, nutritional philosophy, visit or