BARCS Animal Shelter Struggles To Keep Up With Rising Medical Expenses


Credit: Baltimore Animal Rescue Center (BARCS)

BALTIMORE COUNTY - Baltimore Animal Rescue And Care Shelter (BARCS), Maryland’s largest shelter and adoption center, is struggling to keep up with rising medical expenses. According to the shelter, its medical expenses have doubled over the past year, and vets are concerned that they will not be able to continue providing care to the 30+ new animals that enter the shelter every day.

BARCS’ Medical Care Program has expanded tremendously over the past decade and a half, but one doctor remembers its humble beginnings. BARCS’ Director of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Bobbie Mammato, has arrived at the shelter before sunrise every morning for the last 16 years.

When Dr. Mammato first started at BARCS, there was only enough funding for her to be paid for 16 hours a week. As financial support increased, Dr. Mammato grew the supporting veterinary staff to include six individuals providing ongoing and daily care and treatments to the over 250 animals at the shelter.

Before funding increased, the shelter said tough decisions were made on which animals received treatment.

“Back then, we didn’t have the funding to say “yes” to as many as we can now. Difficult, heartbreaking choices were made simply because of our financial resources,” BARCS wrote. “In recent years, BARCS finally reached a point where all animals with treatable medical conditions could get the care they needed no matter their health or history.”

According to the shelter, the recent vet shortage has taken its toll on its operations, leading to uncertainty that could derail its progress.

“Price inflation on medical supplies, equipment, and prescription drugs and a decrease in resources, both in the community and at BARCS’ disposal, are due to the local and national veterinarian shortage. In turn, veterinary clinics have raised their prices for services, making them less accessible to nonprofit organizations like BARCS,” a spokesperson for the organization told Patch.

The Medical Care Program operates with a typical annual budget of $950,000. This fund covers all in-house medical care for 10,000 shelter animals each year. Treatment ranges from antibiotics and vaccinations to testing, spay and neuter surgery, and more.

“The health and well-being of animals in our shelter is an important part of our mission. The Medical Care Fund allows us to begin treating animals the moment they arrive at our shelter,” the organization said.

According to BARCS, due to the increased expenses, the Medical Care Fune is already projected to be well over budget for this year. As the busy summer season approaches, the shelter is hoping for community support to ensure that all animals with treatable medical conditions can receive the care they need.

To learn more about the BARCS Medical Care Fund, or donate towards this life-saving program, see here.

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