Safety Net Programs
At the ASPCA, we believe the safest place for an animal is in his or her home, which is why we’re working to pioneer safety net programs in communities nationwide. Safety net programs provide alternatives to pet parents who may otherwise surrender their pets to animal shelters.
Areas of focus for safety net programs vary, ranging from pet food banks to financial assistance for veterinary bills to temporary housing for animals.
Here are a few methods employed by safety net programs to help keep pets in their homes:
- One-on-one counseling: When a pet parent arrives at an animal shelter to surrender his or her pet, a safety net counselor will seek to determine whether or not providing items such as crates, training leashes, flea treatments, dog houses and/or other services would help that pet parent keep his or her animal*
- Pet food banks
- Community vaccination clinics, spay/neuter services, collars, tags and flea treatment
- Pet help lines (via phone and online)
- Behavior classes and/or behavior help lines
- Temporary housing for animals whose pet parents are in crisis, such as in cases of homelessness or domestic violence
- Assistance with housing issues, such as helping to pay a pet deposit fee
*Please visit our Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Programs page to find spay/neuter resources in your community.
The ASPCA has helped to establish groundbreaking safety net programs in communities across the country, including:
- Shelby County, Alabama
- Los Angeles, California
- Sacramento, California
- Miami, Florida
- Louisville, Kentucky
- Charlotte, North Carolina
- Cleveland, Ohio
Through data analysis, the ASPCA helps determine what type of programs would be helpful in a particular community. Then, we help enact new strategies to move that entire community forward. So far, the ASPCA has provided participating communities with funding for medical vouchers, as well as safety net education and training. We have also offered personnel support, which allows communities to hire dedicated staff members to develop safety net programs. We look forward to helping establish and foster additional safety net programs nationwide.
If you are interested in starting a safety net program in your own community, please read our guide on ASPCA Pro for tips on how to get started.