Local nonprofits merge to provide affordable pet care

Anusha Lalani

Low-income pet owners in Austin will now be able to receive affordable care and a variety of services for their animals from a centralized nonprofit.  

Emancipet and Animal Trustees of Austin, two animal welfare nonprofits, merged their groups on Jan. 4. The combined nonprofits will retain the name Emancipet because of its brand awareness in multiple communities. The merger was announced on Feb. 17.

Emancipet and ATA provide affordable care to low-income pet owners. Emancipet specializes in spaying, neutering and preventive veterinary care, whereas ATA provides spay and neuter surgery, wellness services, heartworm treatments, special surgeries and dental cleanings.

Before the merger, Emancipet used a referral process to send pet owners to veterinaries who provided the services they lacked. The merging of the organizations will allow pet owners to get most of the services that full-service veterinaries provide in one location. 

Emancipet CEO Amy Mills said the decision to merge the two nonprofits has been an ongoing topic.

“Emancipet and ATA have been close collaborators for many years,” Mills said. “By merging, the new organization can serve more animals in more communities with more comprehensive veterinary care.”

Mills said Emancipet hopes to serve more animals as a result of the merger. There is no low-income qualification for people to bring their pets to Emancipet for treatment.

“Last year, Emancipet served more than 82,000 pets,” Mills said. “In 2016, the organization plans to serve more than 100,000 pets.”

Amanda Silva, practice manager for South First Pet Hospital, which is one of the full-service veterinaries Emancipet refers customers to, said the merge provides more services to pet owners, allowing full-service veterinarians to send back some of their patients to Emancipet. 

“We frequently get calls with people who are low-income and not able to do just basic services for their pets, even preventative measures,” Silva said. “Those are services that Animal Trustees of Austin offered, while Emancipet just offered spaying, neutering and vaccines. Now that they’re merged together, they have more funding between them, and I think they’ll be able to help a lot more,”

Jessie Pascarelli, marketing and community manager for Taurus Academy, a company that provides dog training, boarding and day care services that sometimes sponsors Emancipet events, said the merger would combine both of the organizations’ greatest skills into one.

“Emancipet has more of a focus on spaying and neutering, and [ATA] has a focus on preventative veterinary care, so just having the resources to combine those into being a more full-service, low-cost but quality pet care for Austin residents is going to be great,” Pascarelli said. 

This article has been updated since its initial publication to reflect that: 1) Taurus Academy is not a sponsor of Emancipet, though it sponsors several of Emancipet’s fundraising events throughout the year; 2) There is no low-income qualification for people to bring their pets to Emancipet for treatment — people can bring their pets to Emancipet to receive care even if they don’t qualify as low-income; 3) The merger between Emancipet and ATA occurred on Jan. 4, not Feb. 16. The merger was announced on Feb. 16.