We have all seen the shocking photos of Brown Pelicans covered in black oil and other costal fauna washing on shore, but wildlife is not the only population in peril after the disastrous Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Animal shelters in the affected coastal communities report experiencing two to three times the number of pets being relinquished than the same period last summer.
"The oil spill has had major repercussions for families in the lower Louisiana parishes including pet parents connected with the seafood, tourism and oil production industries," says Julie Morris, ASPCA Senior Vice President of Community Outreach. “A primary focus of the ASPCA is to provide support and resources to communities in need.”
In response to the recent economic hardships that continue to mount for coastal families—the ASPCA, the Louisiana SPCA (LA/SPCA), Best Friends Animal Society and several local organizations have launched the Gulf Coast Companion Animal Relief Program. As the lead sponsor, the ASPCA will offer a generous grant to provide free pet care to residents of Plaquemines Parish, St. Bernard Parish, Terrebonne Parish and Jefferson Parish. It is estimated that this initial contribution will prevent 1,000 pets from facing relinquishment by their families.
“The ASPCA granted over $10 million to the Gulf Coast region in the aftermath of Katrina and is pleased to be help to offer support once again,” says Morris. “Through the generous contributions of our donors, we are pleased to join in this collaborative effort to positively impact the companion animals affected by the Gulf Coast tragedy and improve a dire situation for hundreds of families.”
The free services, provided by licensed veterinarians at the Louisiana SPCA will include:
- Basic exams, including tests for feline leukemia and FIV in cats as well as heartworm in dogs
- Microchipping and registration
- Spay or neuter surgeries
In addition, dog food will be generously donated (while supplies last) by Del Monte Foods.
For more information on the free services, or to schedule an appointment, please visit the Louisiana SPCA.
Support from the following organizations has been critical to make this program possible: Del Monte Foods, Best Friends Animal Society, Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans, Second Harvest Food Bank, St. Bernard Parish Animal Shelter, Plaquemines Animal Welfare Society, Jefferson Parish Animal Shelter, Terrebonne Animal Shelter and the Louisiana SPCA.