The ASPCA and the Humane Society of the United States arrange emergency delivery of pet food to isolated Alaska villages amid COVID-19 shortages

April 3, 2020

NEW YORK CITY AND WASHINGTON – The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ®) and the Humane Society of the United States delivered a lifeline of pet food to remote Alaska Native villages that have been unable to acquire food for hundreds of dogs.

The community is part of HSUS’ Pets for Life program, which brings veterinary services, pet food and supplies to underserved communities, and the ASPCA’s Northern Tier Shelter Initiative, which works to improve the quality of life for companion animals by addressing the immediate needs of the region’s vulnerable animal populations through consultations, trainings and grant funding.

Bethel Friends of Canines is the Pets for Life mentorship partner operating the program locally. The villages they serve are in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta and are accessible only by plane or boat. Delivering pet food has been particularly challenging during the COVID-19 outbreak due to limited supply and dwindling transportation options.

The ASPCA arranged a flight from Seattle to Bethel, Alaska, to transport and deliver five pallets of food to the community. The HSUS purchased the food from Firstfruits Feed in Redmond, Washington, who agreed to order and sell the pet food at cost, and owner Tim Matts delivered the approximately 8,000 pounds of dog food directly to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. From there, the lifesaving food was loaded onto a flight funded by the ASPCA and flown to Bethel, where Bethel Friends of Canines will distribute it to remote villages.

“It’s wonderful to see groups coming together and working so hard to bring lifesaving dog food to these communities,” said Amanda Arrington, senior director of Pets for Life for the Humane Society of the United States. “This is an extremely uncertain time for everyone around the world, so it is encouraging to see groups working together to spread some kindness. Bethel Friends of Canines is a haven for these people and their pets, and we want to do everything we can so they can continue their mission.”

“This transport of much-needed dog food to Bethel reflects the extraordinary dedication of compassionate individuals and organizations to help animals in harm’s way—wherever they are—as a result of the global outbreak,” said Lou Guyton, vice president, Relocation & Placement, Shelter Outreach for the ASPCA. “By collaborating with our flight relocation partner, HSUS, Firstfruits Feed, and Bethel Friends of Canines, we’re overcoming enormous geographic and logistical challenges to safely deliver this food, and I couldn’t be more proud or thankful for our teamwork during this challenging time.”