A free vaccination event for dogs and cats in Flatbush came as a welcome surprise for local pet owners Saturday, some who said the event saved them hundreds of dollars after stumbling on the pop-up out of the blue.
Flatbush Cats and KingsCares teamed up to offer the vaccination event at Kings Theatre on Flatbush Avenue between 10:00am and 1:00pm Saturday, Oct. 29. The event came ahead of Flatbush Cats opening a new affordable vet clinic for the community in 2023.
Overall, the pop-up saw 80 pets get their vaccinations — for free.
In the courtyard, fluffy German Shepherds lined up with nervous-looking chihuahuas and cuddly pitbull puppies for their turn to get their shots. Inside the historic French Baroque theatre was the line for the kitties.
Most of those in line had stumbled on the pop-up that day.
Alexander Tabor had just been at a veterinary clinic a block away checking on pricing to get 9-week-old German Shepherd puppy Sasha vaccinated when he came across the free event. It was saving him about $90, he said.
Ena Griffith had taken her granddaughter to dance class that morning and needed to find materials for a dance costume. On Flatbush Avenue, she came across the pop-up, so she went home to bring her dog Cinnamon back for its vaccinations.
Victor Roach’s dog just had nine puppies, and he was able to bring down five pups that hadn’t get been adopted for their free vaccinations and microchips. “If I had to go to the vet it would have cost well into the thousands,” he said. “I really appreciate it.”
Stephanie Bascombe was walking dogs Luna and Jay when a woman told her about the free pop-up. Luna’s vaccinations were due, and Jay needed a microchip, so it worked out perfectly.
“It’s wonderful,” she said. “It’s a bit pricey to vaccinate them, so getting it free is a blessing.”
The event comes ahead of the opening of an affordable, high volume new veterinary clinic that Flatbush Cats is currently constructing in Flatbush. Currently, the clinic is tracking a tentative March 2023 open date.
The clinic, located on Flatbush Avenue, will serve both cats and dogs for spay and neuter surgeries and wellness services. The new clinic will also help plug the desperate need for more low-cost wellness services and neutering for Brooklyn animals.
While the clinic is still under construction, Flatbush Cats Founder Will Zweigart told BK Reader they already have a vet on their team, and they were excited to get started helping the community as fast as they could.
“We want to begin developing that relationship with community members, so they are aware accessible services are on the way,” Zweigart said at the event Saturday.
He hoped the event would be a “positive, judgment-free interaction with a local service provider,” allowing Flatbush Cats to build a trusting relationship so they could come back for spay or neuter services when the clinic opens.
He added that KingsCares had been central to their ability to put on the free event at King Theatre, which cost several thousand dollars in medical supplies and leaned on about 30 volunteers.
Bascombe said she was not aware that Flatbush Cats was opening an affordable vet clinic in the new year. Recently, she paid over $600 for Jay to be vaccinated and have some tests run.
“That will be good,” she said of the low-cost clinic. “When it’s a pet, you have to do it.”