New data from the ASPCA shows that more than 4.2 million pets are at-risk of entering poverty as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. With the potential for a sustained national unemployment rate of 10 percent, the total number of pets living in poverty with their owners would rise to more than 24.4 million dogs, cats, and other pets, a 21 percent increase of pets living in poverty compared to pre-COVID estimates (February 2020).
ASPCA President and CEO Matt Bershadker has been sharing the ASPCA’s work to radically change how communities view keeping pets and people together by reimagining how and where the animal welfare and veterinary fields deliver services, by making basic veterinary care and procedures like spay/neuter, vaccinations, treatments for fleas and ticks and common infections, accessible and affordable to those who need it most. Watch his recent TEDx Santa Barbara talk on this topic.
Additionally, AP News recently interviewed Bershadker and Dr. Susan Miller, executive director of Mission Animal Hospital, about how to keep people and their pets together during these difficult economic times.
“Increasing access to health care and critical resources for pets that are living in poverty is the best way to keep pets out of the shelter. If we can provide those services, we can keep animals in a home where they’re bonded and loved.”
The ASPCA has already had success keeping the human-animal bond strong in underserved communities in Los Angeles, Miami, and New York City by providing free and low-cost access to veterinary care and other services. Most recently, the ASPCA launched its $5 million COVID-19 Relief & Recovery Initiative to bring lifesaving supplies and veterinary care to pet owners and animals most in need, helping to keep animals safe and healthy. Since launching its COVID-19 Relief & Recovery Initiative in March, the ASPCA has helped more than 268,000 dogs, cats and horses across the country.