What Is Community Engagement?
The ASPCA recognizes that many pet owners in New York City don’t have access to vital pet care, services and supplies due to obstacles such as financial barriers, health challenges, unexpected crises, lack of nearby veterinary resources, inaccessible transportation or domestic violence. The lives of pets and their caregivers are deeply linked, and what happens to one significantly affects the other. While we cannot remove these obstacles, we are able to provide better and easier access to services that improve the health and welfare of animals whose caregivers are facing challenges or hardships. The Community Engagement team in New York City (CE) works with pet owners and agencies to identify solutions to keep potentially at-risk animals in their loving homes whenever possible.
How We Help
The ASPCA aims to address these challenges by offering support through a variety of channels:
- Access to veterinary care, such as medical exams and microchipping
- Spay/neuter services
- Supportive services to keep pets in homes, such as providing informational resources, supply support and grooming
CE works closely with the NYPD and human service providers, including domestic violence programs and other advocacy groups and welfare services, to refer pet owners to additional services and support that can help the entire family. If you are a social service provider, you can refer a case or request a training.
Domestic Violence Organizations
Research shows a strong link between animal cruelty and domestic violence. The danger for both humans and animals is clear, and people experiencing domestic violence often delay leaving abusive situations out of concern for the health and safety of their pets. In these situations, we work with individuals and families in communities across New York City to provide options for both victims and their pets when seeking safety. For more information on how we can support persons experiencing domestic violence, please contact us.
CE works closely with the New York City Police Department to provide assistance to pets and their owners when criminal intervention is not appropriate. The NYPD takes the lead in responding to and investigating animal cruelty complaints while CE provides valuable assistance, including (but not limited to) caring for the animal victims and assisting with animal removal if necessary. There are many instances when a challenging situation can be resolved with preventative services and assistance from the CE team, such as pet information and veterinary or behavioral resources—to the benefit of both the family and their beloved pet.
Food Bank Partnership
Over 1 million New York City residents live in food insecure households, meaning they are uncertain of having, or unable to acquire, enough food to meet the needs of all household members. For families with pets, these food, shelter and medical challenges are transferred from owners to their animals, sometimes requiring painful decisions that put pets and family units in jeopardy. But while financial hardship may increase the risk of pet surrender, there is no data to support the notion that owners facing challenging circumstances do not love their pets or are less committed to providing responsible care than owners who are financially secure. CE and the ASPCA work with Food Bank For New York City to provide pet food to Food Bank clients who also have pets, enabling them to successfully feed themselves and their animals. This partnership not only provides food for those in need, it also facilitates vital referrals for CE services and resources. Contact Food Bank For New York City to learn which pantries carry pet food in NYC.
CE and the ASPCA also work with Los Angeles Regional Food Bank (LARFB) and Florida’s Farm Share to deliver pet food to families in the Los Angeles and Miami communities. Visit our Los Angeles and Miami resource pages to find out more.
CE participates in community events to meet people directly in their neighborhoods to spread awareness about ASPCA services, network with other service providers, and interact with community members. Events like coat drives, Earth Day awareness, National Night Out, and other fun, educational events allow us to connect with the communities we serve on a deeper level. At these events, we are not only able to provide items and services such as vaccines and veterinary care for pets in need, we are also able to help provide informational resources for animal lovers who may want guidance on how to best care for their pets. We believe that working together with agencies in NYC gives us the best leverage to provide pet owners with the services they need to address the challenges they face.