PetSmart Charities funds free animal shelter training at MSU

Contact: Katie Timmerman

Dr. Kimberly Woodruff, assistant clinical professor in MSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine, holds a puppy beside the Mobile Veterinary Clinic. CVM will host its first animal shelter education conference April 21-22. (Photo by Megan Bean)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State is opening registration for its first animal shelter education conference.

Taking place April 21 and 22 at the Wise Center and hosted by the university’s College of Veterinary Medicine, the program is designed to benefit everyone from local veterinarians and shelter managers to staff members and community volunteers.

Online registration before the April 13 deadline may be completed at  

Admission is free, thanks to a $16,050 gift from PetSmart Charities of Phoenix, Arizona. A non-profit animal welfare organization, the philanthropy was founded in 1994 by the world’s largest specialty retailer of services and solutions for pets.

CVM’s home, the Wise Center, is a major complex located off Blackjack Road on the west side of the Starkville Campus.

Among conference speakers will be Dr. Philip Bushby, an MSU professor emeritus holding the CVM’s Marcia Lane Endowed Chair of Humane Ethics and Animal Welfare. He and others in the well-known shelter medicine program will cover such topics as capacity for care, facility biosecurity and behavioral enrichment for dogs and cats.

“PetSmart Charities has been one of the biggest supporters of our shelter medicine program,” Bushby said. “They fund a lot of the good work we do for shelter animals in Mississippi.”

Bushby said he and other shelter medicine colleagues currently work with more than two dozen local operations throughout North Mississippi. Provided at no cost, services range from guidance on facility management and safety issues to spay-and-neuter operations completed in a mobile surgical unit by upperclass veterinary students.

“The idea for this conference came from seeing the constant needs of the shelters our program works with, but also recognizing that many shelters have similar needs,” Bushby said. “We want all shelter employees to leave the conference ready to make their shelters better than when they left them, regardless of their level of resources.”

Dr. Kent Hoblet, dean of the college, praised community shelters for playing “a key role in educating people to properly care for animals.” For that reason, he said it is critical that shelter personnel “understand not only how to properly care for animals, but also how to educate people in their local communities on proper animal care.

“Opening the conference to such a broad group of attendants will serve as a multiplier for that important educational component,” Hoblet added.

Jimmy Kight, CVM development director, joined Hoblet and Bushby in thanking PetSmart Charities for “continued support for our shelter medicine program,” which he said “has been critical to enhance the program and broaden its reach throughout the community.

“By supporting grants such as this one, PetSmart Charities helps make possible critical training for shelter workers who directly address animal health and welfare needs on a daily basis,” Kight said.

For additional conference information, contact Bushby at or 662-325-1266.

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