Free Animal Doctor website helps match donors with pets in need

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Thursday, April 13, 2017
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Guadalupe Santibanez and her sons are happy their dog Toby is in good health again after an accident, thanks to medical care funded by Free Animal Doctor.

SIERRA MADRE, Calif. (KABC) -- Guadalupe Santibanez and her boys are happy to have their dog Toby back in good health.

Two months ago, he was hit by a car. His pelvis was broken in three places. Santibanez says she couldn't afford the estimated $5,000 veterinarian bill.

"Probably thinking of putting him down, so he could stop suffering," she said. "That was the only thing that crossed my mind at that point."

That was when someone recommended Free Animal Doctor, a crowd-funding nonprofit charity for sick or injured animals.

Donors can view photos and bios of pets needing help. The vet's diagnosis, prognosis and cost of treatment are all posted on the site.

"The whole reason we do this is we want the whole world to know why this dog for example needs $1,000, because her veterinarian said so," said Free Animal Doctor co-founder Sam Bernardo.

Bernardo says unlike sites like GoFundMe, donors know exactly how the money is being spent. The money raised is paid not to the animal's owner, but to the healthcare provider.

Since accepting the first donation in 2015, Free Animal Doctor has helped more than 120 animals in 17 states, raising well over $110,000.