LAWRENCE, Kan. — The economic wrath of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has forced Americans to make many difficult financial decisions.
Those decisions aren't any easier for those with pets.
“We've had a huge increase in people contacting us either trying to surrender their pet or are in a crisis situation because they have lost their job or they have lost their housing," Lawrence Humane Society senior manager of administration Elina Alterman said.
Alterman said the pandemic highlighted the need for the shelter to get creative in ways to help pet owners.
The "Crisis Pet Retention Fund," helps Douglas County pet owners receive pet-related services that they may have gone without due to financial limitations.
“This is an attempt to try to keep people and pets together, trying to preserve that human animal bond," Alterman said. “Vaccines, microchips, flea and tick treatment, spays and neuters are really big. We have been able to help with some emergency vet care."
The Lawrence Humane Society is receiving more then $50,000 for this project from the Douglas County Cares Fund and from donations.
Closer to Kansas City, the KC Pet Project is offering a similar program called "Keep 'em Together, KC."
KC Pet Project spokesperson Tori Fugate says they've been helping pet owners since April. In one instance, KC Pet Project stepped in to help a dog that had been attacked.
“It's situations where the owner said, 'I can’t afford to care for the dog with this emergency, therefore I have to give them up,'" Fugate said. "Those are the initiatives where we are like we are going to keep those families together."
At the Lawrence Humane Society, work continues to make sure pets who find their forever homes are, indeed, in their forever homes.
It's four-legged friends like Chino (who is up for adoption) that want a loving home and hope to stay there for good. Shelter workers don't want her to have to come back because of a sudden financial hit.
“Every single person is deserving of unconditional love from a pet," Alterman said. "Every pet is deserving of unconditional love from their home."
Douglas County Residents can apply online to receive help from the fund at the Lawrence Humane Society's website.