In its first month since launching the ASPCA COVID-19 Relief & Recovery Initiative, the ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) has assisted more than 40,000 animals impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. As the initiative continues to expand and bring lifesaving services to pet owners and animals most in need, the ASPCA has committed to helping approximately 200,000 animals nationally through its efforts. By providing access to free pet food, supplies, veterinary care, emergency boarding, information and crucial funding, the ASPCA is comprehensively addressing the most urgent needs of pet owners and animal shelters across the country, helping to keep animals safe and healthy.
“During this incredibly challenging time, people across the world are turning to their pets for comfort and companionship. We are committed to helping animals stay healthy and safe at home with their families by enabling access to critical medical services, pet food, and supplies in communities that need them most,” said ASPCA President and CEO Matt Bershadker. “These resources will sustain those important family bonds as well as alleviate stress on animal shelters.”
In response to the tremendous need for crucial pet food and supplies, the ASPCA has launched regional pet food distribution centers in New York City, Miami, Los Angeles, and Asheville, N.C., while also supporting local shelters operating their own food distribution centers by providing free pet food for those organizations, such as Columbus Humane in Ohio. Pet food and supplies are available by appointment only, including walk-up, drive through and home delivery services across the different locations. Since launching in March, more than 40,000 dogs, cats and horses have been helped through the program.
The ASPCA pet food distribution centers are made possible in part by the support of our partners at Petco Foundation, PetSmart Charities, Stella & Chewy’s, and longtime ASPCA supporter Kathy Taggares. This month, the ASPCA received a generous donation of over 800,000 pet food meals from Stella & Chewy’s, known for its premium nutritional pet food. This in-kind product donation is being distributed to the ASPCA’s centers in New York City, Miami, Los Angeles and Asheville.
In addition to its pet food distribution centers, the ASPCA helped spearhead an emergency delivery of more than 8,000 pounds of critical pet food to hundreds of dogs in 35 Alaskan villages, whose access to food and supplies had been cut off as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
Deepening its commitment to help underserved animals and their owners access crucial veterinary resources, the ASPCA adjusted its range of veterinary care in New York City, Miami, Los Angeles, and Asheville, N.C., and is deploying mobile clinics to safely provide urgent veterinary care for sick dogs and cats. Since March 17, the ASPCA has treated more than 2,000 animals through these services.
The ASPCA expanded its services in Los Angeles to a second location after receiving a vital donation of operational space from Kathy Taggares to help meet the growing demand. Kathy’s donation enables the ASPCA to offer additional access to pet food and urgent veterinary services to Los Angeles pet owners.
At the ASPCA Adoption Center in New York City, the ASPCA is offering emergency temporary boarding for pet dogs and cats who, due to the COVID-19 crisis, would not otherwise be receiving basic care. The Emergency Boarding Facility has the capacity to care for more than 40 cats and dogs affected by the COVID-19 crisis at any given time.
The ASPCA has also coordinated with the New York City Emergency Management Animal Planning Taskforce to launch the New York City COVID-19 Pet Hotline, a toll-free phone number to connect New York City pet owners with the support, resources, and information they need to care for their pets during the COVID-19 crisis.
“Although critical animal care resources are now available for pet owners who need them–including pet food, urgent medical services, and emergency boarding–knowing how and where to access these services during a crisis can be challenging. The NYC COVID-19 Pet Hotline will significantly help solve that problem,” added Bershadker.
Emergency relief for animal welfare organizations
The COVID-19 crisis has not only created unprecedented challenges for pet owners struggling to care for their animals, but also put homeless animals at-risk by straining essential shelter resources. To assist animal welfare organizations during these challenging times, the ASPCA emergency relief grant program is awarding a minimum of $2 million in lifesaving funding for animal welfare organizations whose programs, operations, or fundraising capabilities have been severely impacted by COVID-19. The emergency relief grant program is made possible in part by The Alex & Elisabeth Lewyt Charitable Trust, which donated $500,000 to support the ASPCA’s efforts.
Helping vulnerable shelter animals and equines find loving homes
In addition to providing lifesaving funding to animal welfare organizations impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, the ASPCA is committed to helping animal shelters and rescue groups find safe and loving homes for the animals in their care. To address challenges raised by the COVID-19 pandemic, animal shelters have employed innovative techniques, including using technology to facilitate online adoptions, to continue safely moving dogs and cats out of the shelter and into homes. On June 5 – 7, the ASPCA will host the National Adoption Weekend to encourage the public to #AdoptFromHome and help thousands of homeless dogs, cats and horses find homes.
The COVID-19 relief response speaks to the ASPCA’s longstanding commitment to the animal welfare community and people and their pets. In an effort to create better access to crucial services for underserved pet owners and improve the health and welfare of dogs and cats nationwide, the ASPCA has launched programs and partnerships in New York City, Los Angeles and Miami that make veterinary care more accessible and affordable, and continues to develop initiatives to serve the more than 21 million pets living in poverty with their owners nationwide.
For more information on the ASPCA’s efforts to help at-risk animals, please visit www.aspca.org.