Local Veterinarian Helps Animals Experiencing Homelessness

An Oklahoma City veterinarian is helping people experiencing homelessness get care for their pets.

Wednesday, November 9th 2022, 6:54 pm


For many of us, we go above and beyond to make sure our pets are happy and healthy. But for those experiencing homelessness, getting the proper care for those pets can be a challenge.  

City Care is an overnight shelter that opened its doors in April of 2021. 

“We noticed that there was a huge increase in unsheltered homelessness, and we realized the cause of that was that others shelters in the area were changing some of their programming,” said Ian Apfelbaum, assistant director of City Care.  

Most shelters in the area don’t have accommodations for pets, a huge concern for many people that are homeless.  

“We talked to a lot of our neighbors that were staying at other shelters or living on the street and asked them what are the things that keep them from going into a shelter and one of the biggest is pets,” said Apfelbaum.  

So, in addition to the 140 human beds, the shelter also created what they call the pet hotel.  

“We can bring pets in the door, but we want to make sure that they are healthy too and that we are doing everything we can to help prevent diseases since we are putting them into a space with other dogs,” said Apfelbaum.  

“We come over here every other Monday, so every two weeks and we do free vaccines, and we also give out pills and supplements as needed,” said Michael Hansen, veterinary tech, with Midtown Vets.  

Midtown Vets started coming to City Care not long after the shelter opened.  

“Whenever we come over here, not only are we doing free services for the animals, but we also educate the owners,” said Hansen.  

They administer vaccines, and provide any necessary medications, as well as advise where pet owners can get additional care if needed.  

“We see the sad sides of the story, but we also see the happy parts of it, and we see how loving these people are to their animals,” said Hansen.  

The veterinarian services are donated, and the shelter provides food, water and even toys to their welcomed four-legged guest.  

“We have people calling me all the time crying because they have nowhere to go and the relief in their voice when they hear that we allow pets in the building,” said Apfelbaum.  

City Care offers many support programs for those experiencing homelessness, even transitional housing for those trying to get off the street.  

Find out more by visiting their website. 


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