The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on pets.
More than 4 million dogs, cats and other animals in the U.S. could be living in poverty with owners in the next 6 months, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
If the national unemployment rate stays around 10%, more than 24 million pets could be in poverty. That's a 21% increase compared to February, before the pandemic.
Pet food and veterinary care can be expensive. The ASPCA says a lack of affordable vet care and limited access to spay and neuter service are reasons driving people to give up their pets.
RedRover is helping people afford care. They're seeing a 24% increase in urgent care grant applications compared to last year. The average amount of money they give out is $250.
“It’s a very small amount of money, but what we've found is it really is that stopgap between helping them start service with start care with a veterinarian so you know just having a little bit to get going,” said Nicole Forsyth, President and CEO of RedRover.
Your pet has to have a diagnosis before you can apply for a grant at RedRover.org. If you don't qualify, they'll help connect you with other resources.
“When they talk to our case managers on the phone, the sense of relief and the sense also that it's OK for them to spend this money on their pets,” said Forsyth. “I think sometimes they're hearing messages from their friends and family like you know, ‘it's just an animal,’ you know, ‘why would you spend that kind of money.’ And so, having someone to talk to who understands.”
The Humane Society has more resources on its website to find pet financial aid and discounted vet care close by.