a growing number of family pets are being surrendered to shelters or simply abandoned on the streets
Because of COVID 19, a growing number of family pets are being surrendered to shelters or simply abandoned on the streets.

While COVID 19 has rattled the lives of everyone on the planet, the coronavirus affects furry lives, too. As some people are reaching the end of their ability to withstand the financial burdens caused by the virus in their own lives, a growing number of family pets are being surrendered to shelters or simply abandoned on the streets.

Here at the Humane Society of the Nature Coast, we receive numerous calls every day from people wanting to surrender their pets or to ask where to take those they have found abandoned in their neighborhoods. Many say they have already called all the other shelters and say they are being told the same thing: “We have no more room.”

As many states are reporting an uptick in the number of COVID 19 cases, the potential for an even greater surge in surrenders and abandonment has many shelters moving into crisis mode.

In April, the HSNC issued an emergency plea for donations on our Facebook page. We were overwhelmed with new animals and needed help to provide food for all of them and to ensure that we could provide emergency medical treatments for some of our more critical intakes. That plea was met with an awe-inspiring response from our community. Not only did those donations make it possible for us to feed and care for the flood of cats and dogs pouring into our shelter it enabled us to keep our Little Pet Pantry stocked with food to help the growing number of pet owners in our community who are struggling to keep their beloved pets as part of the family. Unfortunately, as the devastating effects of this pandemic wear on, we must ask for your help again.

The Humane Society of the Nature Coast (HSNC) has taken in over 500 surrenders and abandoned animals since May alone. Many have been surrendered by people who have lost their jobs, Others surrender their beloved family pet because they’ve been evicted from their homes and are living out of their cars. It’s heartbreaking.

Some of the animals are delivered to our arms on an emergency basis. Some are emaciated. Some arrive with broken bones. Still others have medical conditions, which require emergency veterinary care. All of them are terrified.

We have seen a spike in the surrender of “special needs” animals, pets who have medical conditions that pose an additional expense to the owner, which they can no longer bear. These are the heartbreaking realities we must find a way to deal with every day. We are up to the challenge. We will never give up the fight to save these precious animals. But we can’t do it without you.

Right now, we are in desperate need of cat litter, Purina One cat/dog/puppy/kitten food, soft treats and toys. Yes… toys. Although it might seem like a trivial thing to ask for. But when they suddenly find themselves in a strange place surrounded by unfamiliar faces, toys really do provide them a source of distraction and comfort.

Of course, monetary donations are always welcomed. These dollars help us provide the medical care that many of these surrendered or abandoned animals need before we can offer them for adoption.

Then again, the ultimate gift you could offer to one of our little fur-babies would be the one thing we cannot give them… A new furever home.