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New program helps homeless care for pets

wiscaresA program of the UW-Madison Veterinary School that provides health care for the pets of homeless people is not just tending the animals, its director says.

Wisconsin Companion Animal Resources, Education, and Social Services (WisCARES) is an outreach partnership at the University of Wisconsin. It provides basic veterinary medical care, housing support and advocacy, and other support services to Dane County pet owners who are currently experiencing or are at risk of homelessness,. They also help pet owners who are unable to pay for veterinary medical services needed for access to housing. WisCARES is also a way to help people who are homeless or at risk of losing housing connect with other resources they need.

WisCARES was recently featured on Read the article here!

Eligibility Information

WisCARES works with pet owners experiencing homelessness or housing instability. You may qualify for access to our services provides if you fall under one of the following threee categories:

  1. You are currently experiencing homelessness
  2. You are at risk of homelessness (e.g facing eviction, recently regained housing, transitional housing program, etc.)
  3. You are unable to afford veterinary medical expenses required for housing (such as vaccinations that your landlord is requiring you have documentation of)


In order to become a client of WisCARES, they need proof that you satisfy at least one of the above three categories. The following are acceptable sources of proof:

  1. A written referral from a social services, homeless services, or healthcare. This referral can be found below.
  2. Self-certification that you fall under HHS definitions of homelessness.
  3. If you do not have either of these, you will go through an interview-based questionnaire with a social services representative to determine qualification.

Qualification can be done in person at 1312 Culmen Street Wednesdays and Fridays between 2:00 and 5:30 pm or over the phone by calling and leaving a message with your name and contact information at 608-561-7387. Please note all calls are returned in the order they are received. The quickest way to qualify without a referral from a social services provider is to stop in person during our open hours.

For Social Services Providers

You can download, fill out, and print the following pdf to refer an individual to WisCARES. Referral PDF
You may send this form with a client to their open hours or email a copy of the form to them at