The global pandemic posed immense challenges to the animal protection community this year. Around the world, people—and the animals who depend on them—reeled from the impact of illness, death, closures, job losses and difficulty in accessing the most basic services.

We stepped in to try and fill these gaps with respect to animals wherever we knew there was a need. We led a massive effort in the United States to spay animals in shelters and we brought food and veterinary services to areas around the globe that needed them the most. So far we have granted millions of dollars and supplied thousands of pounds of food and supplies to assist animals and people directly impacted by the pandemic.

The desperation, and need, is so acute that members of communities where we bring help have burst into tears of relief.

Here are some of the highlights of the work we did:

  • We led a coalition of more than 25 national non-profit organizations in the launch of #SpayTogether, a stimulus fund to help animal shelters and spay/neuter veterinary clinics perform 50,000 lifesaving spay/neuter surgeries in the United States on a fast track over three months. We helped more than 220 organizations with this effort and provided $ 2.4 million. Thanks to our coalition partners who worked hard to maximize their dollars, we succeeded in spaying/neutering more than 75,000 pets by the time the program wrapped up this month.
  • We sprang into action after the pandemic hit to bring veterinary services and pet supplies free of cost to pet owners in underserved areas. We helped pet owners in places ranging from a halfway house to a homeless encampment in Los Angeles, and from city neighborhoods in Philadelphia to some of the remotest lands in Alaska. Through a partnership with Chewy, Pets for Life and Rural Area Veterinary Services delivered truckloads of pet food to many hard-hit communities.
  • We provided deliveries of pet food to reservations in desperate need in Wyoming, Montana, Minnesota and Idaho.
  • With funding from MARS, Inc. Humane Society International assisted groups in 30 countries on five continents, providing support for over 125,000 animals. The funds provided assistance for feeding and veterinary care of street animals as well as providing services to communities and their animals affected economically by the pandemic shut downs.
  • The funding from MARS helped our teams in India feed 6,500 animals every day for six weeks. We also supported our partner organizations and communities who, together, fed a total of 12,000 more animals each day over the six-week period.
  • In Latin America, many of our street dog teams, while forced to suspend their normal activities, provided food and veterinary assistance to animals in need.
  • In Bolivia and Guatemala, we trained more than 150 veterinarians and veterinary students in high quality spay/neuter surgery.
  • We provided public service announcements in Latin America, India and Vietnam and advised governments on messaging to the public not to abandon their animals during the pandemic.
  • We provided much-needed financial assistance to organizations and sanctuaries dealing with wildlife and farm animals globally, including a $100,000 grant to the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance to support 15 wildlife sanctuaries in Africa.
  • We assisted with funding for increased anti-poaching efforts in Africa following concerns about a rise in poaching as pandemic shutdowns led to job losses.
  • In Canada, with support from local foundations, we distributed nearly 170,000 pounds of pet food and supplies, helping more than 7,500 people impacted by the pandemic to care for over 11,000 animals, including in nine remote First Nations communities.

With the pandemic still raging, we will continue to bring help to those who need it most in coming weeks and months. The need is immense, but we are doing all we can to ensure that animals—and the people who love them—get help as swiftly as possible. Together, the Humane Society family of organizations has the expertise and the global reach to do this work, but we cannot do it without your support. Please continue to stand by us in these difficult times.

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