Message from Administration

Why we started the Low Cost Vet Mobile 

As anyone who cares about or rescues animals knows, veterinary expenses are prohibitive for 90% of pet parents. Without veterinary medical care the angels we care so much about have little chance of living either a comfortable nor long life. Therefore, the veterinarian is the animals' most necessary need, perhaps even more than food, water and shelter, since dogs and cats in undeveloped countries without veterinary care live in the streets, albeit in misery, uncomfortable with constant diseases and have a short lifespan. When we transform an animal angel into a member of our household and family we want the very best that life can give for them, as if it was our own child. In order to do so we must sacrifice our labor, money, and time. Labor and time are easier to provide than money, which makes veterinary expense the single most difficult aspect to pet ownership. Recognizing this fact, in 2005 we began the Safety Net program at New York City Animal Control ("ACC"), as up to 90% of surrenders for euthanasia to ACC had historically been for inability to pay necessary veterinary expenses. Safety Net was the first attempt in the world to have support services available to help pet owners keep their pets, whether by providing low cost veterinary services, low cost boarding, legal support, training assistance, or otherwise. We recruited one veterinary practice in every borough to provide low cost services, who reduced their prices for our referrals. However, one by one each one of the five veterinarians dropped out of the Safety Net, citing the inappropriate behavior of some of our referred pet parents. Eventually, ACC began its own surrender prevention program, which continues today. Unfortunately, ACC's surrender prevention efforts does not have a low cost veterinary component. Therefore, we realized that we had to launch our own low cost veterinary service. In 2009 we did just that by launching the first Low Cost Vet Mobile. Since then, we have made history by providing the first full service, low cost, mobile veterinary service in the world. We are STILL the one and only such service in the world, with news reports not only locally but even in foreign countries such as Romania and Russia (see news reports on our media page).

The Challenges We Face Which Affect our Clients and their Animals

We operate 7 days a week, and the Vet Mobiles go out six days a week. This requires three shifts of staff, with each shift working 8-15 hours per day. There are many days when our staff sleeps 3-4 hours in order to finish the previous day's workload and be up in time to start the next morning's tasks. We are lucky if we get to sleep 5 - 6 hours a day. In addition to working such long shifts on such short sleep, day in and day out, for almost TEN YEARS now, our 18 person staff has to still fight the brutal heat or cold or rain or snow, vehicular breakdowns, aggressive and frightened animals, and worst of all, a small amount of difficult pet parents. Some come to us expecting free services, others come to us with unrealistic expectations, yet others come to us planning to steal our services with pretexts of paying our low cost fees, not to mention the under-educated who cannot comprehend nor remember anything the veterinarian says, much less follow instructions in the treatment plan or administration of medications, the drunks, those who come to us high on drugs, etc. In short, our staff puts up with a LOT. As a result we have come up with some basic policy guidelines which we list here. If a person violates these guidelines we will issue one verbal warning and note the issues in that person's record. If corrected there is no problem. If the objectionable behavior is continued the person is banned from the Low Cost Vet Mobile. We end up banning one out of 100 people (1%) who seek our low cost services. Banning someone is our last choice, but it becomes our ONLY option as we will not tolerate dishonesty, rude behavior, or threats to our staff. Once banned our policy is to un-ban only if the person acknowledges that their behavior was unacceptable. If we had to call the police on that person our policy is never to un-ban that person.

POLICY GUIDELINES and CODE OF CONDUCT When you take too much of our time by not following these policies you prevent others from receiving our low cost services. When others take too much of our time by not following these policies they prevent you from receiving our low cost services. There is only 24 hrs in a day and we must use it efficiently in order to help every single animal which is brought to us.
1. Do NOT knock on the door. The staff is working on an animal and any noise can spook the animal causing a bad event to happen.
2. Curse Words NOT permitted in or around the Vet Mobile. Even if not directed to Vet Mobile staff curse words in ordinary conversation is inappropriate in or around a medical facility. It also indicates a person with low threshold for temperament and self-control issues.
3. Repeating questions already answered not permitted.  We are low cost because we carry a high volume of cases, including emergencies, specialty surgeries, and hospitalizations. Please do NOT ask the same question a second time to our veterinarians. Asking the same question again prevents us from treating all the animals who need us. If you do not understand something you can ask the staff outside the Vet Mobile after exiting. Our staff is highly trained in the medicals and has years of experience and can answer 95% of questions. You can also call the office if you are unclear about something even after you get back home.
4. One person allowed into the Vet Mobile for the exam. Whomever knows most about the purpose of the animal's visit to the Vet Mobile is the one who should come inside to speak with the veterinarian. That person MUST also have the payment with them when they come in. If another party is paying that party should give the payment to the person coming inside for the exam. If deliberation and consultation is needed after the exam at the time of payment, the $25 exam fee can be paid and all the parties can discuss the veterinarian's recommendations outside the Vet Mobile before deciding which to do. 
5. Practicing medicine without a license is a felony. Believe it or not we get some people who come to us saying "I already know what the animal needs," and demanding a certain medicine or treatment. It is OK to ask the veterinarian if a certain medicine or treatment is appropriate but it is illegal to demand it.
6. We ban those who lie. Some people believe that because they are trying to help an animal lying is a "white lie." Not true, as it causes that person to lose credibility and even if there was some flexibility which we would have shown a wonderful pet parent or rescuer, we will refuse to do so for a liar trying to manipulate a better price or arrangement than what we already provide.
7. Do not ask us to give you the same information already available on our web site and InfoLINE recording. We answer approximately 100 calls per day 7 days a week LIVE from 7 AM until 9 PM , and also LIVE 24/7 calls for the nine specified emergency situations thru our HelpLINE phone number (718-321-PETS). Add on top of that making about 100 outgoing calls a day and you can see why live phone time must not be abused. We return all calls and messages within 48 hrs. Therefore, basic information such as days/times/prices MUST be obtained either from our website (it is conveniently on our home page) or from our InfoLINE recording (718-770-PETS) which is 5 minutes long, so you can write it all down.  We do not want to ban people for not following basic respectful policies but when people call us and complain that we should give them basic information on a live call, it is an indication that that person has no concept of the boundaries and limitations of all businesses, much less a high volume service so it can be low cost. 
8. Bring your payment onto the Vet Mobile.  To be low cost we must be high volume, which requires us to not take long in processing payments. If you are unsure whether you have the budget or not to do what the veterinarians recommend, just pay the $25 exam fee and step off the truck and then deliberate and consult with friends and family.
9. Why you may see people who arrive after you being seen before you.  There are several reasons why this happens sometimes.  1) We permit people who have signed in and handed in their paperwork and have been given a number to leave and come back closer to their turn without losing their turn if they come back after their number has passed. This way people don't have to wait for hours and can eliminate the long line. 2) When we need to provide a service which does not require an exam by the vets, such as a blood draw, nail trim, an injection, we take in only the animal without the pet parent coming in, and hand the animal back within five minutes. 3) Those who make appointments with our online LOW COST VET APP (we give one appointment per hour, on the hour) get seen next when they arrive. 4) Life and death emergencies are taken in before all others. We determine what constitutes a life & death emergency. 
10. Do NOT abuse email communications.  We respond to emailed questions as soon as they come in,  most within the same day, at the latest within 48 hrs. Requests for records, questions about treatments, medicines, policies, and almost everything you can imagine is answered. The only time we are forced to complain is when one person shows a pattern of unending questions, as if we are a social media chat, or asking questions in drips and drabs instead of asking all the questions in one email. So please be mindful that just because we answer all emails does not give permission to engage in endless and unnecessary email communications. If you do not get a response to your email enquiry before calling us please check your spam and junk boxes.