We’re working to increase equity in access to care through policy making, training for veterinary and animal welfare professionals, and direct care programs that provide veterinary care, pet supplies, other animal care services and information at no cost to pet owners.

We’ve provided:

  • More than 440,000 animals with lifesaving support.
  • Nearly $50 million worth of veterinary services at no cost to families.
  • More than 21 million pounds of pet food to underserved areas, valued at $56 million.

We’re making big changes in the fields of veterinary care and animal welfare, including shifting philosophies, policies, practices and abilities to ensure that everyone, including those experiencing poverty or living in areas where resources are scarce, can access the care they want and need for their pets. We're working on these important issues through a variety of connected methods.



Our Pets for Life and Rural Area Veterinary Services (RAVS) programs are bridging the gap between essential pet care and the people and pets who need it. The programs provide a range of veterinary services including preventive care, spay/neuter and care for sick animals as well as grooming services, behavior training, pet supplies and more at no cost in underserved communities.

Veterinary engagement

  • To date, we’ve trained more than 23,000 veterinary professionals.
  • RAVS provides hands-on training and mentorship for veterinary and veterinary technician students from more than 30 different schools.
  • Through our RAVS program, veterinary professionals have donated more than 925,000 volunteer hours.
  • Our Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association provides training on issues involving access to care for thousands of veterinary professionals each year.

Access to care for animals is a rapidly evolving issue, and we’re here to support the veterinary professionals who are at the forefront of this work. We encourage more individuals to enter the field  and provide opportunities for them to enhance and share their skills, practices and knowledge.

Our Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association and RAVS program offer various opportunities for learning and networking, as well as scholarship opportunities to help remove barriers for those interested in veterinary medicine. (If you’re a veterinary professional or student who would like to join our outreach, learn more about how to volunteer or join HSVMA to engage in our training and advocacy efforts.)

back to top

Support pet equity

Pets and their families belong together. Stand with us today to increase access to affordable veterinary care, pet food and pet-inclusive housing. 

Man holding his grey cat
Nicole Rosenberg

Community support

  • We’ve provided nearly $13 million in grants to local organizations to improve access to care.
  • Pets for Life coordinates with 50-plus mentorship partners nationwide.
  • RAVS provides local partners with planning support, training and supplies to promote regular vaccination services in their communities.

Every community—whether urban, rural or in between—needs programs that promote fair access to pet resources. We provide a range of tools and resources for animal welfare professionals, and we partner with local shelters, rescues and community advocates to create significant change together.

Our key initiatives

  • Animal Care Expo: Experts from all over the world gather to share the latest programs, best practices, and inspiration.
  • HumanePro: Our resource hub for shelters, rescues and animal welfare professionals offers tips, success stories, toolkits, sustainability guides, webinars and more.
  • More Than a Pet: This campaign engages corporate sponsors to raise money and awareness for our access-to-care programs.
  • Pets and People Together: Our campaign with the Ad Council and Maddie’s Fund encourages people to foster pets, donate pet food to local food pantries, help cover pet owners’ veterinary expenses and help lost pets find their way home.
  • RAVS community animal care projects: These efforts bring together networks of community members, local animal services, public health personnel and regional veterinary providers to support community-based animal care programs.
  • Mentorship programs: We offer expert consultations and support, along with $2.5 million in annual funding, for local agencies and organizations to develop and expand access-to-care programs.
  • HSVMA scholarships: We give Compassionate Care Scholarships to veterinary students who share our commitment to equitable access and inclusion in veterinary medicine.

back to top


Our policy work emphasizes four key areas: pet-inclusive housing, veterinary telemedicine, building veterinary professional capacity and ending breed-specific legislation.

Pet-inclusive housing

Housing insecurity is one of the main reasons people surrender a pet. It is difficult for many families, especially those with lower incomes, to find safe and affordable places to live that allow pets. This can lead to families making the difficult decision between finding a place to live or surrendering their pet to a shelter. We’re working to change this by removing barriers and supporting housing policies that:

  • Require housing subsidized by the state or federal government to allow pets without restrictions on breed or size.
  • Reduce or get rid of extra fees for keeping pets in rental units.
  • Eliminate homeowner and renters’ insurance exclusions based on dog breed.
  • Advocate for pet protections in cases of eviction.
  • Expand access to pet-inclusive emergency housing for people facing homelessness or domestic violence.

Veterinary telemedicine

Many pets and their families live in areas with limited access to veterinary facilities, making it challenging to get essential care. Expanding access through telemedicine can help alleviate this burden. Allowing veterinarians to use their expertise remotely can strengthen the bond between pet owners and veterinarians, ultimately keeping people and their pets together.

Building veterinary capacity

There's a critical shortage of qualified veterinary professionals that is expected to get worse over time. This shortage disproportionately affects people and pets living in underserved areas and experiencing poverty. To address this issue, we're working on policies and regulations to make the field of veterinary medicine more inclusive and accessible for both veterinarians and veterinary technicians.

Ending breed-specific legislation

We're also addressing rules that restrict or ban certain breeds of dogs, which can contribute to housing insecurity and overcrowding in animal shelters. We aim to repeal breed-specific laws and advocate for policies that prevent insurance companies from canceling or increasing premiums based on a dog's perceived breed. These efforts are essential to ensure safe and inclusive housing for all pet owners.

back to top