Americans Start Ditching Pets During COVID-19 Crisis

Americans Start Ditching Pets During COVID-19 Crisis

“We’ve had people who have been hit by the recession, the lack of jobs and the inability to pay their rent and that sort of thing,” she says. “They have lost their home or have to move and cannot take a dog with them or move in with their family and they have no room. There are a variety of things. I’m very worried about them – and this COVID thing obviously isn’t going to go away tomorrow.

In August, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals released data estimating that 4.2 million pets will fall into poverty over the next six months due to the COVID-19 crisis, a 21% increase over pre-pandemic estimates. The total number of animals living in poverty could rise to more than 24.4 million dogs, cats, horses and other animals.

Matt Bershadker, president and CEO of ASPCA, said the organization was working to resolve the crisis. In March, the non-profit organization launched a $ 5 million COVID-19 relief and recovery initiative to help families keep their pets at home by improving access to veterinary care, to pet food and supplies.

“We are working to reinvent the way animal welfare and the veterinary field can best serve pets, owners and communities,” he said TODAY in an email. “Providing free access to pet food, supplies, veterinary care, emergency boarding and information will help keep animals safe and healthy, in their homes and out of shelters, everything by maintaining important family ties for millions of people.

ASPCA’s $ 5 million COVID-19 relief and recovery initiative, launched in March, has provided $ 2 million in grants to more than 50 animal welfare organizations in 30 states. As part of the response efforts, the nonprofit also donated more than 1,800 tons of emergency food for dogs, cats and horses whose owners are in difficulty.Courtesy of ASPCA

Bershadker suggests people facing economic hardship to contact their animal shelter, veterinary clinic, food bank or other community service provider to find out more about available resources.

Sarah Brown, a division chief for Manatee County Animal Services, which operates the Manatee County shelter in Palmetto, Fla., Said her shelter and others are focusing on individual needs to help people resolve issues. . For example, the MCAS began providing a pet pantry at the start of the pandemic for anyone in the community who needed help. Many people came for food, but others still couldn’t keep their pets.

“As we continue to offer help to the community, owning a pet has become beyond the capacity of so many,” she said TODAY in an email. “In addition to not just being able to pay for their pets, we’ve seen a lot of impoundments because owners are in jail or have been sent for mental assistance.”

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