Marisa Debattista: Second Chance Animal Rescue
The pet project Marisa launched from her lounge room
The $10,000 Westfield Local Heroes grant has enabled the Second Chance Animal Rescue to purchase much needed pet food for the Outreach Program and medical supplies for the vet clinic, which has enabled the provision of free pet surgeries for families that are struggling financially.
Over 87 families have benefitted from the support of the Second Chance Animal Rescue, with 114 pets receiving pet food or vet care, 38 surgeries were conducted and over 450kg of pet food has been donated to local families.
As a young girl, Marisa Debattista’s connection with animals was obvious to everyone around her.
But few could have guessed she would go on to launch an organisation from her lounge room that would support thousands of pet owners to continue to care for their dogs and cats in times of hardship.
Marisa set up SCAR (Second Chance Animal Rescue) nearly 10 years ago, inspired by her work as a veterinary nurse and volunteering at the local animal shelter.
“I was able to see firsthand how many animals and their owners needed help versus the limited resources that were available to them,” she says.
Her pet project is an Outreach Program which helps financially stressed and underprivileged owners access free veterinary care and food for their furry companions.
In the past year, SCAR has helped 79 families in the Moonee Valley community.
Today, SCAR, and its network of volunteers, foster carers and adopters have saved the lives of close to 10,000 abandoned, injured, sick or abused cats and dogs.
The services SCAR provides include animal de-sexing, resources to encourage responsible pet ownership, veterinary services and pet food.
The owners’ gratitude is something that gives Marisa goosebumps. “If you saw how much some of the outreach participants absolutely love their pets you would understand what this assistance means to them,” she says.
Marisa is honoured to be voted a Westfield Local Hero but she struggles to see herself in that light.
“I don't see myself as a hero. But I do know that my team and I have done great things and are committed to continuing our life-saving work, no matter what obstacles we face.”
She is thrilled with the $10,000 Westfield grant awarded to SCAR.