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Pets Get Vets at Occupy Wall Street

Veterinarians offer free treatment

One of the pets at Zuccotti Park in New York. Photo by Christopher Robbins

Family pets were among the first to lose their homes when the housing crisis struck, so it’s good to know that four-leggeds who are hanging out with their families at the ongoing Occupy Wall Street protest are getting free health care.

Veterinarians sympathetic to the protest are visiting Zuccotti Park and offering free check-ups for four-legged protesters.

“I supported OWS right from the beginning,” Dr. Konstantine Barsky, a vet at Hope Veterinary Clinic in Brooklyn, told the New York Daily News. “On the second night I realized there were a lot of animals here. I figured the best way I could participate would be giving my skills.”

Some of the nonhumans had been hurt by the pepper spray incidents. “Treating patients for pepper spray remains the same for most animals, regardless of species,” Dr. Barsky said.

The doctor has been visiting Zuccotti Park on Fridays, and treats about 10 animals a week. One of them, last week, was Munchie, who’s known locally as the “Anarkitty.” Her person, Mary Baker, explained that she didn’t want Munchie to be left alone, bored. “She’s my sidekick. It’s never just me, myself and I. It’s me and Munchie,” she said.

The veterinarians don’t ask if someone is a true protester or not. Homeless people and others sometimes show up at the makeshift hospital tent.

“Things have gotten so tons of people can’t take care of their animals,” said vet tech Stephanie Figueroa who works at a shelter. “We’re overcrowded, and a lot of the animals are put to sleep.” She said that a woman had come to the shelter with her two healthy dogs saying she’d recently lost her home and moved to an apartment where pets are forbidden.

The organizers at Occupy Wall Street say it doesn’t make sense to make people prove that they’re bona fide protesters before their pets can be treated. “A lot of these animals would be dead had it not been for the homeless people who took them in,” Baker said.

Most of the treatments are for fleas and ticks. Munchie is currently occupying a cozy, leopard-print blanket.