Coronavirus, Local

Atlanta Animal Shelters Offer Help To Owners In Need During Pandemic

Several metro Atlanta animal shelters are prioritizing more support for low-income pet owners who are struggling during the pandemic.
Several metro Atlanta animal shelters are prioritizing more support for low-income pet owners who are struggling during the pandemic.

It’s hard to find a silver lining during the coronavirus pandemic — unless, maybe, you’re a stray pup looking for a home.

Several metro Atlanta animal shelters are prioritizing more support for low-income pet owners who are struggling during the pandemic.

Karen Hirsch is with Lifeline Animal Project, a nonprofit that manages Fulton and DeKalb County’s animal shelters.

She said Lifeline is taking part in a nationwide pilot program called Human Animal Support Services, which helps owners and foster families with the cost of pet supplies and food.

Hirsch said these services, born out of the pandemic, help avoid an animal’s surrender altogether.

“We now have trained case managers who provide resources, who assist owners in rehoming their pets if necessary, and try to help people reunite with their lost pets,” Hirsch said.

“We’ve also been delivering food in Fulton County through our Pets for Life program, for people who don’t have transportation and can’t afford pet food right now.”

Pets for Life offers free veterinary care and other services to people and their pets in underserved areas across Atlanta.

The week before April 1, Lifeline officials announced that some 800 pets were either adopted or fostered — and the shelters were nearly cleared out, a historic record for the program.

Hirsch noted as businesses and schools reopen, she hopes families stay committed to their recently adopted pets, and there isn’t high concern over an uptick in pets returning back to the shelter.

Lily Oppenheimer contributed to this report.