The St. Charles Parish Animal Shelter was recently awarded a $5,000 grant as part of PetSmart Charities’ Emergency Relief Fund. The funding will support emergency boarding for pets whose owners are ill from COVID-19 and no longer able to care for their pets and pets whose owners have passed away.
Coronavirus has affected humans by closing workplaces and schools, but animal shelters are also feeling the impact as fewer people come in to adopt pets. Many shelters are forced to close to the public altogether.
According to some animal welfare organizations, it is likely fewer people will be considering adoption and more pet parents will have to surrender pets due to health or economic hardship. As a result, the number of homeless pets is expected to increase.
To help address these issues, PetSmart Charities has committed up to $2 million to support pets and people affected by COVID-19. These funds will support both the animal shelters caring for pets and organizations that are helping impacted people keep and care for their pets in the areas with the highest number of reported cases in the U.S. and Canada.
Shelter Director Jena Troxler said the parish facility partners with PetSmart Charities year round, which helps to expand cat adoptions of local shelter pets.
“To protect people and prevent congregation, PetSmart remained open for needs, but the adoption center was cleared and we typically house 10 cats there,” Troxler said of the company’s pandemic plan. “PetSmart didn’t stop their support, but found new areas to support need via emergency grants during times of COVID-19 effects … due to early networking nationally with shelters and veterinary experts, as well as the national animal control association, our department grew to anticipate needs of our community and the effects on pets as collateral damage during this pandemic and started grant and donation seeking preimpact.”
Troxler said the grant includes support for food, minor medical, boarding and prepping pets for adoption that are found homeless due to owner’s health or housing loss.
“As an organization dedicated to supporting pets and the people who love them, PetSmart Charities remains committed to the health and welfare of pets during this unprecedented time, and our hearts go out to those impacted by COVID-19,” Chris McCurdy, interim president at PetSmart Charities, said.
Troxler said anyone in need of pet-related support due to COVID-19 can contact the shelter via Facebook or the parish website, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 985-783-5010.