The Atlanta Humane Society is hosting a special COVID-19 Community Pet Fund Drive April 30 to support the city’s animals.

On that day contributions totaling up to $59,000 will be matched by a group of donors. During this fund drive, the organization is asking Atlantans to donate to ensure the community’s animals, whether they are homeless or in a home impacted by COVID-19, receive the resources they need.

The virus has created unique challenges for the pet owners of Atlanta, and the society stepped up to support their changing needs by launching new community resources. These resources include a free pet food assistance program, free virtual veterinary and behavior assistance, low-cost injury and illness veterinary care and no-cost emergency boarding for pet owners hospitalized with COVID-19.

"I didn't think that people remembered pets. I thought that pets would just get scrap or survive off of their owner's food, but I was very touched and pleased to find out that the Atlanta Humane Society sees them as a member of the family and has stepped up and helped us care for our pets by giving them food to eat," Jenn, an society pet food assistance program client, said in a news release. Her last name was not released to protect her privacy.

Since these programs started, 29,625 pounds of pet food have been given to individuals and other rescue groups in need, 78 individuals have received free veterinary or behavior assistance and 238 pets have received reduced cost veterinary care.

“One evening, my dog Freddi’s face became swollen, and I was worried about what to do. Veterinary bills are expensive, and during uncertain times like this COVID-19 pandemic, the cost of an unexpected veterinary visit is scary. When I found out about the Atlanta Humane Society’s free virtual veterinary assistance program, I was so relieved,” Becky, a caller to our virtual veterinary assistance program, said in the release (her last name was not released to protect her privacy).

“I was able to explain my pup’s symptoms and find out whether she needed to come in for an office visit or not. I really value that AHS is interested in what’s best for the community and is willing to help those in need while also keeping everyone safe by offering this virtual service that keeps people from breaking their quarantine unless absolutely necessary.”

And, while the society’s physical buildings are temporarily closed to the public, the organization has still been providing medical care to animals in need such as Max, a 1-year-old German shepherd, who was found abandoned and tied to a pole, and Misty, a 7-year-old mixed breed, who is suffering from mange. It has also adapted its adoptions and foster program to fit the changing needs that the pandemic has created. Adoptions are now virtual, with an adoption counselor speaking to adopters over the phone, and foster homes are leading the meet-and-greet process. 188 animals have found their families through this adjusted adoption program in the past six weeks.

“We’re asking Atlanta to support animals in need during our COVID-19 Community Pet Fund Drive and to help support those in our community who have fallen on hard times because of COVID-19,” Cal Morgan, the society’s president and CEO, said in the release. “We’re working tirelessly to care for homeless animals in need while helping to keep pets with the families who love them by providing resources to get them through these difficult days- but we can only continue to provide these services with the generous support of our community.”

For more information on the society or to donate, visit atlantahumane.org.

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