PetSmart Charities™ continues support for MSU veterinary program

Contact: Karen Templeton

Emily Childers, left, a certified veterinary technician who accompanies Mississippi State veterinary students and their professors to area animal shelters, prepares a cat for surgery. In this 2012 photo, third-year CVM student Tori Hall of Newtown, Ohio, assists in the Mobile Veterinary Unit when the team traveled to help animals at the West Point-Clay County Animal Shelter. (Photo by Beth Wynn)

STARKVILLE, Miss.–An Arizona philanthropy again is providing a major gift to Mississippi State’s College of Veterinary Medicine for the ongoing mission of its Mobile Veterinary Clinics.

The $400,000 grant from Phoenix-based PetSmart Charities Inc. will help cover many of the expenses incurred as clinic personnel pay regular visits to 20 North Mississippi animal shelters. At each location, veterinary students from the university spay and neuter homeless animals.

A 501(c)(3) organization separate from parent company PetSmart Inc., PetSmart Charities Inc. is a nonprofit animal welfare organization devoted to saving the lives of homeless pets. Each year, more than 400,000 dogs and cats find homes each year through an adoption program in all its company stores and sponsored adoption events

The recent award to MSU was the organization’s second major donation in the past three years. In 2012, it provided $250,000 to help the college purchase a second mobile unit.

The CVM Mobile Veterinary Clinic program is funded entirely by grants and donations.

Jimmy Kight, the college’s development director, said PetSmart Charities is “a big supporter of our shelter medicine program” and “has been an integral part of making the program a success.

“They know the importance of providing students with unparalleled surgical experience and helping make shelter animals more adoptable,” Kight added.

The mobile clinic program was begun under the leadership of Dr. Phil Bushby, professor emeritus and holder of the college’s Marcia Lane Endowed Chair in Humane Ethics and Animal Welfare.

Bushby said the mobile clinics enable the state’s only professional training program in veterinary medicine to accomplish two important missions:

—Providing students with surgical experience and acquainting them with the many issues associated with overpopulation of homeless dogs and cats; and

—Helping increase the adoption of shelter animals while educating their new owners about the importance of regular veterinary visits to ensure their good health for as long as possible.

Though no longer a fulltime employee, Bushby continues working to inspire current students and others about the critical need for keeping the popular clinic program going.

“The PetSmart Charities grant helps our students, sheltered animals and communities,” Bushby said. “With this kind of support, we really can show students how to tackle community issues like pet overpopulation, and also make them better surgeons.”

According to organization officials, PetSmart Charities provides more direct financial support to help pets in need than any other animal welfare group in North America. For more, visit

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