Thursday, March 8, 2018

MSU's College of Veterinary Medicine to host inaugural Shelter Educational Conference, sponsored by PetSmart Charities

STARKVILLE, Miss.— The Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine is hosting its first Shelter Educational Conference, funded entirely by PetSmart Charities. PetSmart Charities donated $16,050 for the conference, which will focus on ways in which animal shelters can improve their quality of care.

“PetSmart Charities has been one of the biggest supporters of our shelter medicine program,” Dr. Philip Bushby, professor emeritus and MSU College of Veterinary Medicine’s Marcia Lane Endowed Chair of Humane Ethics and Animal Welfare, said. “They fund a lot of the good work we do for shelter animals in Mississippi.”

The College of Veterinary Medicine’s shelter medicine program currently works with twenty-five shelters in the north Mississippi area. The program provides guidance in shelter management and safety, and combats overpopulation by offering high-volume, high-quality spay and neuter services through their mobile veterinary surgical units. These services are offered at no cost to the shelters.

“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 every shelter employee to leave the conference ready to make their shelters better than when they left them, regardless of their level of resources.”

The Shelter Educational Conference is open not just to veterinarians, but all people involved in shelter work, from managers and staff to volunteers.

“Shelters serve a key role in educating people to properly care for animals, and it is important that shelters understand not only how to properly care for animals, but also how to educate the people in their local communities on the proper care of animals,” said College of Veterinary Medicine dean, Dr. Kent Hoblet. “By opening the conference to such a broad group of attendants, it will serve as a multiplier for that important educational component.”

Speakers for the conference are all veterinarians and technicians from the College’s Shelter Medicine Program. They will cover topics ranging from capacity for care to shelter biosecurity to behavioral enrichment for dogs and cats.

Recognizing the limited resources of most shelters, the generous support of PetSmart Charities allows for registrants to attend the conference at no cost.

“PetSmart Charities’ continued support for the College’s shelter medicine program has been critical to enhance the program and broaden its reach throughout the community,” said Jimmy Kight, the College’s director of development. “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.”

The Petsmart Charities Shelter Educational Conference will take place at the College of Veterinary Medicine on April 21 and 22. Registration is available through Friday, April 13, and individuals can register online:  Conference Registration click here.

Questions or requests for additional information about the conference can be directed to Dr. Philip Bushby at