As you might have noticed, poverty has been on my mind this week. In a recent post, the Talk Poverty blog points out that poverty is one of the biggest reasons why pet families have to surrender their animals to shelters.
“Forty-plus million Americans live in poverty. They have pets and they love their pets,” said Matthew Bershadker, president and CEO of the ASPCA. Given the American average of 1.8 animals per household, Bershadker estimated that over 25 million cats and dogs are living in poverty, and he noted that 52 percent of the clients of the ASPCA Animal Hospital in NYC are living on less than $15,000 per year.
The ASPCA is looking for ways to alleviate the problem. They are drawing on an idea lawyers use quite often – providing some services pro bono or at reduced costs in underserved areas. The Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program makes it possible for vets to survive economically while offering low-cost services.
In addition, the ASPCA has partnered with the Food Bank for NYC to supply pet food. In the first year of the partnership, the Food Bank for NYC distributed nearly 100,000 pounds of dog and cat food to 254 food pantries. The pet food carries a sticker advising families where they can go for low-cost vet care, as well.
It’s all about collaboration.
Here in Ohio, I am a member of an 18,000-member cat group (gasp – I have five felines!) on Facebook that has just attained 501(c)3 status so we can help our members in need when their pets need emergency care.
What’s your community doing to help low-income pet families?
Until next time,
Good day, and good dog!