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From unaffordable housing to pain at the gas pump and less food on the table despite a higher grocery bill, rising prices and rising inflation affect almost every facet of American life.
Unfortunately, the pain associated with inflation doesn’t just affect the bank account. It can also have a very real impact on the heart of someone’s home, especially when having to make difficult choices between eating on the table or in your pet’s food bowl.
The truth is that in this difficult economic times, pet owners struggle to make ends meet and many can no longer afford to take care of their furry best friends the way they once could. We’re seeing this problem at shelters across the country, from Austin, Texas to Kalamazoo, Michigan, as affordability issues force pet owners to hand over their animals to shelters amid the rising costs of pet supplies and veterinary care. .
These shelters, in turn, are overrun with abandoned pets and forced to house them in conditions that are rapidly changing as space, time, and resources become increasingly thin. This problematic cycle exacerbates the difficulties of both pet owners and those who lose their homes due to economic uncertainty.
A recent LendingTree survey highlights this eye-opening trend, noting that over 75% of pet owners say recent inflation is making pet ownership more expensive, and 26% say they struggle to meet their pet’s needs. pet due to these rising costs. Worse, nearly 25% of owners are in debt to meet their pet’s needs, while 30% of those stuck in pet-related debt owe $1,000 or more.
Since 70% of households in America have pets, this is a community-wide problem that deserves a community-driven solution involving players from the sidewalks of Main Street to the convention halls.
To help with this, American Humane has co-sponsored Animal Night on Capitol Hill on September 21, so members of Congress and their staff could hear directly from leaders in the animal care community about the issues that directly affect the more than 90 million pet owners in the US today. By delivering this message directly to the people responsible for managing these economic problems, we can clearly and emphatically help shape the way lawmakers look at the very real issue of giving up pets in the face of rising inflation.
However, our work does not begin and end up on Capitol Hill.
Solutions to these challenges lie not only with our elected officials, but with all of us who lend a helping hand to the pet owners most affected. Emergency grants from national animal welfare organizations to local shelters and communities are an excellent way to keep pets with their caretakers. American Humane is proud to have provided more than 100 of these grants to shelters in need in 43 states through our “Feed the Hungry” campaign. Through this effort, we have happily served more than 1,000,000 meals to hungry animals. As we continue to provide for pets and their owners, we urge others to donate to these types of charities to tangibly help those most in need.
Food banks established by local and national organizations that provide pet food and supplies can also help ease the heavy burden of pet families in these difficult economic times. When pet owners know they have access to what their pet needs to live a healthy and fulfilling life, the stress for both animal and human is greatly reduced.
Animal welfare organizations and individuals must do their best to help our fellow citizens who struggle with the costs of: caring for a precious pet. As shelters become overwhelmed and pet owners face the economic challenges brought on by issues like inflation, we need to look to both our legislators and our fellow neighbors for support in helping people keep their beloved friends.
We all know how difficult it can be to take care of a pet when you are struggling to take care of yourself. Through a combination of legislative action, emergency grants and community support, we can all help improve the lives of these pets and keep them in their forever homes with the families who need them by their side now more than ever.