Over several years, the College of Veterinary Medicine has developed a relationship with LA Animal Services, which eventually led to the creation of the WesternU Spay and Neuter Center tied to the city of LA East Valley Animal Shelter in Van Nuys. The General Manager of LA Animal Services, Brenda Barnette, introduced Dean Phillip Nelson to some key board members of the Mary Jo & Hank Greenberg Animal Welfare Foundation, thinking our mission and projects might match up.

One of those board members, Bob Ferber, was a founding member of CVM inaugural Dean Shirley Johnston’s Dean’s Advisory Board and he was thrilled to reconnect with the College. These connections led to a $300,000 gift to fund replacement of CVM’s aging Veterinary Ambulatory Community Service (VACS 1) vehicle, providing hands-on clinical skills training for all first- and second-year students. Through the end of academic year 2018-19, the VACS has seen a total of 8,045 animals providing 6,549 spay/neuter surgeries performed by over 1,565 students.\

CVM students exit the Veterinary Ambulatory Community Service (VACS) vehicle outside of the Upland Animal Services shelter in Memorial Park in this file photo. (Jeff Malet, WesternU)