The Morley resident developed Perth Veterinary Bill Assistance to help pet owners with vet bills they would otherwise struggle to pay.
Ms Rodrigues said having worked as a vet nurse she saw people who had to surrender or euthanise their pets because it was cheaper than having them treated for an illness or accident injuries.
‘I could see that many were loving owners who were just going through a period of financial hardship and didn’t want their pet to suffer,’ she said.
‘They were people who would have saved or kept the pet if they could afford it.
‘I wanted to open up another option to allow people to keep their pet and treat it so that it isn’t suffering.’
Ms Rodrigues said she also saw some pensioners unable to afford cat registration fees when the new cat laws came into effect, giving her the idea to open up a donation system to help people comply with the laws.
Since being set up in February, the assistance program has registered four, sterilised six and micro-chipped eight cats, paid a contribution to a chihuahua’s eye surgery and helped pay to fix a kitten’s broken leg.
Ms Rodrigues said the assistance program was the start of making sure no pet suffered needlessly or was euthanased prematurely because their owner had limited funds.
‘We like to think that the people we help today are the people who will help us to help others tomorrow,’ she said.
‘We educate people about the importance of pet insurance and responsible ownership … in the hope that accidents and illnesses are prevented.’
For more information go to www.perth vetbillassistance.com.