How often do you read a homeless pet story that could have been prevented? Here are some ideas for animal shelters and animal lovers to help prevent pets from losing their homes.
— Pet owners should carefully screen the boarding facilities or kennels they use for their pets. I’ve seen several situations in our area where dogs escaped while being boarded. This has happened several times at one kennel in particular. Here in NM animal boarding facilities have little regulation, so it’s “buyer beware.”
— Don’t depend on others to research your new address. Educate pet owners to microchip their pets and place an identification collar with their current name, address, and phone number on each pet. I notice many “lost dog” ads stating that the dog is not chipped and has no collar. Or, the pet has a chip and/or collar, but the information is out of date.
— Set up a pet food bank. Pet food can be distributed at the shelter or rescue, at a shopping center, or any place with a large parking lot. Also, pet food can be distributed via the Meals on Wheels program (or any other food distribution service) in your community. If your community has a food bank for people ask the director of that nonprofit if your shelter can add pet food to the food supply for those in need. See our website articles for pet food bank ideas:
— Stay up to date on resources that offer low-cost veterinary care in your community. Some veterinarians offer discounts for folks needing help. At times low-cost spay/neuter procedures, vaccines, and general wellness checks are offered. Talk with your local veterinarians about offering low-cost services one day a month for specific services. Read Medical Grants for Homeless Pets and Pets in Need.
— Does your community or shelter have a fund for pet medical emergencies? Do you know of any grants for emergencies? Read Plan Ahead to Pay for Pet Medical Emergencies
— Educate pet owners about planning for their pet’s care in case of illness or death. Ask a local newspaper reporter to write about this or post information on your own website. Include ways on screening others for taking your pet, how to evaluate the financial consideration for someone taking your pet, etc.
— Prepare a list of pet-friendly housing options in your community. Pet owners often give up their pets when they move due to a lack of pet-friendly housing. This is especially true now with foreclosures and financial problems in our country. Call apartment complexes, apartment rental services, rental management companies, etc for this information and keep it updated. Post this on your website and let real estate agents, mortgage bankers, apartment managers, rental management companies, etc. know about this resource so they can refer potential renters.