Caring for Our Pets When Economic Times are Hard

poverty4

A recent report from San Diego’s public television station KPBS highlighted some sobering statistics about how many people in our county, as well as nationwide, are struggling financially. The poverty rate here in San Diego County is higher today than it was during the great recession, rising from 12.3% to 14.5%–with 450,000 people currently living below the federal poverty line ($12,082 per individual annually). U.S. census data shows that 13.5% of Americans live below the poverty threshold nationwide.

poverty3

FACE provides financial assistance to qualified families to help them pay for all or part of their pets’ emergency and critical care veterinary services. According to our 2016 statistics, 50% of our grantees had an annual income of $26,000 or less. Here in San Diego County, where the cost of living is quite high, $26,000 is less than the living wage for one person.

poverty5

What does all this mean for pet owners facing economic hard times? While the basic cost of pet ownership ranges from around $350-$550 per year (with roughly $1,000 of expenses during the first year of ownership), a veterinary emergency could lead to thousands of dollars of unexpected expenses. What happens when a pet owner simply can’t afford treatment? Sadly, economic euthanasia is often the only alternative. While it’s hard to find official statistics on economic euthanasia rates, animal welfare and veterinary experts estimate that between 10% and 12% of all pet euthanasia occurs for economic reasons.

poverty6

The pets of low income families face many hardships, even if they never experience a veterinary emergency. Low income pet owners in rural areas can find themselves miles away from the nearest pet store or veterinarian. In urban areas with high poverty rates, veterinary services are also scarce, and pet owners often face transportation issues.

poverty1

Helping pets in low income households is truly a community effort. Besides non-profits that provide financial assistance for veterinary care, like FACE, there are other ways communities have shown compassion for pets in need. Many veterinary schools offer free clinics, animal welfare organizations bring mobile, low-cost spay/neuter services to underserved areas, food pantries are expanding to include pet food and supplies, and specialized programs exist for the pets of veterans, the homeless, and the elderly.

poverty2

Pets provide love, comfort, companionship, and even health benefits to their owners, regardless of income. That’s why it’s so important to do all we can to ensure that all pets remain healthy and happy members of their families. Here is a comprehensive list of organizations providing financial assistance to pet owners in the U.S.

 

Thank You ‘Purr and Roar’

kitchen2

Our friend Tori from the awesome blog Purr and Roar was kind enough to ask your humble FACE blogger to participate in her “Let’s Talk About Your Cat!” series.  I had the opportunity to share some pictures and stories about my two Norwegian Forest Cats (and my work with the FACE Foundation, too).

I’ve found that while some people’s eyes light up when they hear I have “Wegies” most just say “a WHAT cat?” and look confused.  Yes, they really are a natural breed from the forests of Norway!

If you’re not familiar with Purr and Roar, please check out this incredibly informative blog, which covers all things feline, from wild cat conservation issues to the “house lion” on your couch!

Thank you Tori!

A Look Back at 2016

Roxie

Roxie

It’s hard to believe the year 2016 is almost history! As we look forward to 2017, and working with our awesome veterinary partners to save the lives of beloved family pets in need of emergency medical care, we thought we’d take a quick look back at some of the highlights of the past year.

Mogget

Mogget

The year 2016 marked FACE’s 10th anniversary. From 2006 to 2016, we have helped save over 1,600 lives.

Rex

Rex

We are one of a small handful of U.S. non-profits with a mission to save family pets from the tragedy of economic euthanasia. We began with one hospital partner…today we have over 125 veterinary partners throughout San Diego County. Our partners discount their services by at least 25% for FACE cases.

Maggy

Maggy

As of 2016, our Humane Education program has positively impacted over 800 youth in our community. Our brand-new program, Roxy’s Dental Clinic, has provided free dental care to 15 pets who were former FACE grantees.

Olaf

Olaf

We are also celebrating our partnership with the Petco Foundation and Blue Buffalo. To date, they have granted FACE over $30,000 to help save pets with cancer…something we have never been able to do before.

Koa

Koa

Thanks to all of our friends and supporters for a great 2016…we can’t wait for next year!