Financial times are not improving, foreclosure rates are skyrocketing, animal shelters are busting at the seams with pets that are being turned in because families lose their homes and can no longer keep them.
I’ve written about it before;
- Foreclosure Pets, You Can Make a Difference – Call to Action
- Pets Too Often the Victim of Foreclosure
- ‘Foreclosure Pets’ – It’s so Common it has a Name
Sadly, this is a trend that doesn’t look to be coming to an end any time soon but there may be help, a new grant program for shelters and rescue groups sponsored by the HSUS to help keep pets and families together.
From the HSUS
To help keep families and pets together through foreclosures and financial crisis, The Humane Society of the United States has created a new grant program for shelters and rescue groups.
Pets have been among the voiceless victims of the current economic downturn. Animals have been left behind in foreclosed homes, and shelters are reporting that families are struggling to keep and feed pets.
To ease the current hardships, The HSUS is offering grants to animal shelters, non-sheltered rescue/adoption groups and animal care and control agencies to help establish, expand, or publicize services or programs that assist families in caring for their pets during the current economic crisis.
Grants range from $500 to $2,000 per organization. Collaboration is encouraged and preference will be given to organizations that have a cooperative agreement with other agencies in their community such as a food bank or other community service agency.
Individuals can help keep pets and their families together by donating directly to this important fund.
“Dealing with a financial crisis is scary enough,” said Stephanie Shain, director of outreach for Companion Animals at the Humane Society of the United States. “We hope to ease the burden in some way for families by helping their local shelter help them keep their pet home and part of the family.”
Examples of the types of programs that would be eligible for funding from The HSUS fund include organizations that are:
- partnering with local food banks to donate and distribute pet food and supplies
- working with veterinarians to develop service vouchers to be distributed to people who need assistance with vaccinations, spay and neuter surgeries, or other veterinary care
- creating a special fund to provide needed financial support to the pets of families affected by the economic downturn to help cover the costs of food, supplies, spay and neuter surgeries, veterinary care, and other expenses for pets of families in need.
To be considered eligible for the grant, an organization must:
- Be a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization or a municipal animal control agency eligible to receive restricted funds.
- Submit an online application that defines the need within the community for the program being proposed and describes how the organization plans to meet those needs.
Don’t Leave Pets Behind
Abandoned pets face a grim future. Many pets trapped inside abandoned homes aren’t found until they’re on the brink of starvation. Those lucky enough to reach a shelter have about a 50 percent chance of being adopted.
“No one likes to think of leaving their pet at a shelter, but if you can’t take him with you, it is by far more humane than leaving them in an apartment or a house alone,” said Shain. “Too many animals die alone this way every year. If people are absolutely unable to care for their pet any longer, they should take him or her to their local animal shelter or animal control agency. The shelter can provide food and housing while they try and locate a new home.”
These outcomes can be avoided by planning ahead as much as possible and finding pet-friendly housing. The following steps can help in the search for pet-friendly rental housing:
• Give yourself enough time. If possible, check ads and contact real estate agents and rental agencies at least six weeks before you plan to move or when you first learn that foreclosure and/or eviction may be in your future.
• Make use of available resources. Contact the humane society or animal care and control agency serving the area into which you are moving; the agency may be able to provide you with a list of apartment communities that allow pets.
• Gather proof that you’re responsible. The more documentation you can provide attesting to your conscientiousness as a pet owner, the more convincing your appeal will be to your future landlord. This can include statements from current property managers and neighbors that you maintain your pet responsibly, as well as copies of veterinary records showing ongoing pet care.
• Get it in writing. Once you have permission from a landlord, manager or condominium committee to have a pet, be sure to get it in writing. Comprehensive agreements protect people, property and the pets themselves.
Individuals facing financial hardships can reduce the cost of pet ownership in many ways. Some tips include:
• While buying expensive toys and accessories has become a popular way to demonstrate your attachment to your pet, your pet can be just as happy with less expensive toys or homemade toys. They need your love and attention more than a pricey product. The HSUS has tips for inexpensive toys for both cats and dogs.
• Keep your pets safe inside or on a leash while walking outside. Animals allowed to roam freely are more prone to accidents and resulting veterinary bills.
• Let your veterinarian know that finances are tight and ask that he or she prescribe only the most vital vaccinations to keep your pet healthy.
• Consider pet health insurance to minimize the shock of an expensive bill from the veterinarian in case of an unexpected illness or injury.