EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Hundreds of El Pasoans turned out to a free pet and people vaccination event on Sunday morning in East El Paso.
The city of El Paso offered free pet vaccinations and microchips during a unique drive-thru clinic where pet owners also had an opportunity to receive free COVID-19 vaccines.
“We’re hosting our first-ever pets and people wellness clinic,” said Michele Anderson, acting marketing and public engagement manager for El Paso Animal Services. “We partnered up with the COVID-19 Response Team to not only offer pet services — distemper/parvo vaccines, FVRCP vaccines, microchips and free pet food — but we’re also offering free COVID vaccines for anyone 12 and up who needs one.”
The event was open to the first 500 pet owners who showed up — the Animal Services team cut off the line at the 500th pet so those who didn’t make the cutoff would not have to unnecessarily wait in line.
“It’s been an awesome day. We’ve had a great turnout, the first person getting in line a little before 4 a.m. this morning,” she said. “We’ve been getting a lot of pets vaccinated, microchipped, which is amazing because distemper, parvo are very prevalent diseases in our community, so it’s really important to make sure your pets are up to date on their vaccines.”
She also mentioned that the microchips are especially important for pets to have around this time of year when fireworks can scare pets who then get out of their yards. She said she expects hundreds, even thousands, of pets to come into Animal Services’ care during the upcoming holiday.
It’s important to “get all these pets microchipped and registered because so many pets go missing around the July 4 holiday,” she said.
One El Pasoan, Tommy Smith, said he was grateful for the event because it is helping him save money to keep his six dogs healthy and safe.
“This helps me out a lot,” he said as he waited in line with his dog, Knuckles, and five others, including three pug puppies.
El Pasoan Veronica Sosa showed up with her two dogs, but was just getting her 4-month-old puppy, Nova, microchipped.
“This is awesome,” she said. “I can see the long line, so I can see the demand for microchipping and pet vaccinations is large.”
She said that it’s helpful to pet owners to have an event like this. In addition to the vaccines and microchips, the city was also offering free pet food.
Mariella Collinsworth attended the event to get her 9-year-old mixed Mastiff dog Paco microchipped. She waited in line for about two-and-a-half hours, she said and hopes the city does more of these events in other parts of El Paso.
“I think it’s great,” she said. “I think they need to do it more and in other parts of the city. I traveled from the Westside, so I’ve been here about 2.5 hours now.”
The clinic was held from 8 a.m. until about 11:30 a.m. Sunday at the city’s COVID vaccine and testing facility at 301 George Perry in East El Paso.