There have been lots of changes here at Head Over Hooves, and also in the needs of animals in the community, over the past year. In our contact with pounds and rescue groups, we're seeing a growing trend. Animals are being surrendered in record numbers, as the rising cost of living and rental crisis affect the ability of people to care for their companions. This is on top of a housing crisis caused by floods, landlords not allowing animals, and already high levels of homelessness and housing insecurity.
As a result people are making hard decisions about giving up their loved animals. There are many animals in the community right now who are at risk of being surrendered including dogs, cats and farmed animals. Surrendering a loved animal is a traumatic experience for all involved, and many people in crisis are going to great lengths to avoid this, even living in their cars with their animals. Some are making choices between feeding themselves and feeding their animals.
Community groups who are at the forefront of providing emergency relief are asking for practical action to help these people care for their animals while they get back on their feet. While Head Over Hooves is known for rescuing farmed animals, with many animals at risk of surrender right now, this is also an important issue requiring urgent attention. Keeping animals with the people who love them is far kinder and cost effective than surrendering them to an uncertain fate.
We’ve looked at what we can do to support people and animals in these difficult circumstances. Pet food is one of their greatest needs, along with dog coats for winter, parasite prevention, veterinary checks and short-term animal boarding or foster care.
To help we have started a new program that provides support to people and their animals in need. Our first step in this area is to distribute animal food, dog coats and other animal supplies via community groups to people and their animals in crisis situations. Many just need temporary assistance while they recover from illness, find a new job, or accommodation that allows animals.
Keeping animals and their families together is something that we at HoH care deeply about and we invite you to come with us as we embark on this journey.