A new year represents new beginnings, new possibilities and new ways at looking at things. These are important considerations knowing we have our work cut out for us in 2021 as the pandemic continues to have an impact. This first Pet Column of 2021 is not intended to set a negative tone, but focus on necessary preparedness as Second Chance Humane Society continues a focus toward meeting the most urgent needs in animal welfare and community support.
These needs are being defined by what the animal welfare industry is seeing at a national level regarding housing insecurity, which although not new, has been exacerbated by the pandemic. The economic hardships faced by so many people could severely impact families through evictions and evolve as the next obstacle in the national crisis. An estimated 30-40 million renters are at risk of being evicted this month because of hardships experienced from the pandemic. Seventy two percent of renters have pets. This means the number of animals displaced with their people this year could be significant.
Additionally, pre-COVID estimations asserted nearly 10 million low and extremely low-income renter households were severely housing-cost burdened, meaning 50 percent or more of their income is spent on housing costs. Due to the economic consequences of the pandemic, another 1.5 million rental households are expected to become severely housing-cost burdened.
In coming months, many families may face the heart-wrenching decision of choosing between a place to live and the pets they love. Second Chance’s mission is “Connecting Pets, People & Community While Saving Lives.” We will be working, in collaboration with partner animal welfare agencies, to minimize the trauma and devastation caused by a potential eviction crisis in our region. We will be working to keep pets and people together.
Second Chance will be engaging in conversations with partners on how to best support our community members through these trying times. We will continue our Tri-County Pet Pantry providing free pet food and supplies to low-income pet parents in the tri-county region. Additionally, two programs that were temporarily suspended are back this month. Our Community Wellness Program, that provides free wellness checks for pets and low cost veterinary services, is open for appointment registration now. This program supports low-income families in keeping their pets healthy.
Second Chance’s behavioral training courses are also resuming which can help pet owners in developing and maintaining their pets as good candidates for rental homes. Further, Second Chance will continue building its Foster Home Program to assist those who are temporarily unable to care for their pets due to illness or homelessness caused by the pandemic.
In closing, our homeless dog of the week, Peach, would like to remind you that another source of sustenance for today’s challenges is the social, emotional and mental support that a companion animal can provide. Adopting a homeless pet can reduce the challenges caused by the prolonged isolation and disconnection we’ve been experiencing these past many months. Thus, we introduce Peach.
Peach is a year-young cattle dog mix looking for a forever home. Peach arrived as a very shy and scared girl, but has responded well to staff and volunteer attempts to build her confidence. She has learned how to walk on leash and trust humans. She gains confidence from other dogs and would do best in a home with another dog as a mentor and comforting presence.
Second Chance Humane Society’s Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops have been servicing San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties for 27 years. Call 970-626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about our Emergency Response, Community Medical, Spay/Neuter, Volunteer or other services. View our shelter pets and services online at adoptmountainpets.org.