Barking Up a New Tree
In 2017, The Arizona Pet Project began offering financial assistance and resources to pets and families in our community by implementing a shelter program called S.I.T. Stay (Shelter Intervention Team, Helping Pets Stay in Homes).
Through this program, a full-time Arizona Pet Project counselor has been hired and placed at a local shelter where the demand for assistance is high. This employee works with pet owners to provide counseling and resource referral services to keep pets with the people who love them- just like Suzy and Joe below.
Last year, our shelter intervention program successfully prevented over 700 dogs and cats from entering the shelter, keeping them with their loving families. By doing so, we saved the shelter an estimated $700,000.00– freeing up critical resources to focus on the pets that do not have families yet.
99% of the families surveyed have been able to keep their pets in the home at least 90 days after receiving help through this program.
Read more of the incredible stories of families and pets we have helped with your support on our blog.
It’s a Dying Shame
Pets provide comfort, companionship, and improve the over-all well being of their family members. For this reason, The Arizona Pet Project believes everyone should enjoy pet ownership but sadly, it’s often the people who need their pets the most, who are forced to surrender them to shelters, where the pets face an increased risk of euthanasia.
Many families seeking support are members of the community who greatly benefit from the human-animal bond they share with their pets. In some cases pets are the only family these individuals have- just like Latisha and King pictured here.
Servicemen left a side gate open and King ran away. When Latisha finally found him at the shelter, she could not afford the city-mandated fee for his food, board, and other expenses incurred during his stay. With your help, we covered the fee to send King home with the person who loves him most. Latisha described, “King is my best friend, I struggle with PTSD and he has always been there for me. I don’t know what I would have done without your help.”
Oftentimes, people surrender pets due to a lack of financial resources tied to a sudden change in circumstances. These circumstances may include:
- Pet or owner illness
- Costs associated with a move (pet deposit, transportation, etc.)
- Owner homelessness
- Pet age or health
- Behavioral challenges
These pet owners love their pets, but are unable to pay for the expense of care—situations which in most cases could be resolved for an average cost of $175.00. Head to our blog to read about these families and their stories.
Prevention Through Collaboration
In order directly impact our overburdened shelter system, our program is focused on the point of surrender which is why our counselor is based at Maricopa County Animal Care & Control. Learn how the intervention process works in this short video:
When presented with financial assistance and resources as a way to keep their pets in their homes, over 98% of pet owners agreed to talk to a counselor to explore their options.
We have provided resources and community referrals for over 3,500 families seeking services. In order to do so, The Arizona Pet Project is proud to collaborate with numerous pet focused organizations and services to provide alternatives to surrender to as many families as possible.
Veterinary costs to the community have increased 60% over the past 10 years and are expected to continue to rise.
There are several low-cost clinics to assist pet owners in need, but none offer free services for families in extreme financial distress.
Owner surrenders are nearly 20% more likely to be euthanized than strays.