Stillwater, Okla. – The Oklahoma State University (OSU) Center for Veterinary Health Sciences is partnering with the Tulsa Animal Shelter. The move will help improve the welfare of the animals housed at the city’s shelter.
“This is an orange letter day for the Veterinary Center. For years, Tulsa has had animal warehousing. The goal is to change it to animal welfare,” said Dr. Michael Lorenz, dean of OSU’s veterinary college and a member of the Tulsa Animal Shelter Task Force.
Mayor Kathy Taylor announced the partnership during a 1 p.m. news conference Friday, Sept. 19, at the new City Hall.
Lorenz said the partnership is a win-win situation.
“Shelter Medicine programs are important to continuing our long tradition of graduating the finest primary care veterinarians you can hire,” he said. “It is a very effective way to provide veterinary students with hands-on animal experience.”
Under the partnership, Dr. Catherine Pienkos, the City of Tulsa Shelter Veterinarian, will be appointed as an adjunct assistant professor in OSU’s Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences. She will oversee the activities of the students assigned to the Tulsa Animal Welfare Shelter. The veterinary students will assist in treating the shelter animals and in the spay and neuter program, which will help them hone their surgical skills.
“OSU is one of the best veterinary schools in the nation,” said Mayor Taylor. “This partnership will make sure the animals at the shelter receive the best possible care.”
“In addition, OSU will seek private funding for two internships for veterinarians who want to gain expertise in shelter medicine while assisting Pienkos,” Lorenz added.
The two interns will rotate between the Tulsa Shelter and OSU’s Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital in Stillwater. According to Lorenz, the annual budget is estimated at $235,000 and a $6.25 million endowment will be required to fully fund the OSU program. While funds are being raised, veterinary students will begin working with the city of Tulsa.
The Oklahoma State University Center for Veterinary Health Sciences is one of 28 veterinary colleges in the United States and is fully accredited by the Council on Education of the American Veterinary Medical Association. The Center’s Veterinary Medial Teaching Hospital is open to the public and provides routine and specialized care for small and large animals. It also offers 24 hour emergency care and is certified by the American Animal Hospital Association. For more information, visit www.cvhs.okstate.edu or call (405) 744-7000.