Nearly 40 million Americans feel the impact of poverty every day. Of those, 19 million own pets, which is TRIPLE the number of dogs and cats that enter animal shelters each year.
But what does that look like and why does it matter? People and pets living in poverty encounter barriers in access to basic pet care and supplies due to financial obstacles, health challenges, unexpected emergencies, lack of nearby affordable veterinary clinics, inaccessible transportation , or even domestic violence. Crises like these jeopardize the ability of many to keep their beloved pets.
FRCA was inspired to respond to this call in rural, Russell County, Virginia, where its poorest section experiences poverty at 24.8% (with 29% being children and 26% elderly). While working with the animal shelter, our organization recognized that there was more needing to be done to help prevent overpopulation and to limit intake. We responded proactively by creating programs to assist in spay/neuter, increase access to veterinary care, and outreach programs to help keep people and pets together.
Our programs allow us to better understand our clients' perspectives, foster positive, non-judgemental relationships, and strive to create lasting change in our community and in animal welfare as a whole.