Two-year-old Millie, an adorable, solid black terrier-mix, was shaking from head to toe as she arrived at the Fort Worth Animal Shelter after her owner decided she couldn’t afford to care for her anymore. Millie’s fur was covered with mats that were pulling at her skin. Sadly, she also tested positive for heartworm. Two days later, Millie’s owner surrendered her brother.
Nationwide, thousands of municipal animal shelters struggle daily as they are overwhelmed with the number of animals entering the facilities as a result of being surrendered or found roaming the streets when owners can no longer care for them.
The $50,000 Better Cities for Pets grant was awarded to the City of Fort Worth to assist the people and pets of Fort Worth who lack access to mainstream veterinary care. The grant was awarded through Mars Petcare and the United States Conference of Mayors’ Better Cities for Pets program, a nationwide initiative designed to help cities implement, support and expand pet-friendly programs and policies.
“Fort Worth prides itself on being a pet-friendly city, as research shows living with pets enhances quality of life and has numerous health benefits,” said Mayor Betsy Price. “This grant will support the City of Fort Worth’s Animal Care & Control Unit as they expand efforts to improve animal well-being, as well as provide additional pet care resources and services to our citizens.”
Data collected by the Humane Society of the United States from the nation’s most underserved communities found startling differences in pet ownership. People living in underserved communities love their pets as much as pet owners anywhere else in the nation. However, they don’t have access to veterinary care, spay/neuter and other services most Americans take for granted.
- Pets living in underserved communities in the U.S.: 23 million.
- Percentage of pets living in underserved communities who:
- Are not spayed or neutered: 87 percent.
- Have never seen a veterinarian: 77 percent.
The Fort Worth Animal Welfare Division of Code Compliance will use Pets for Life, a national program providing wellness resources to residents in underserved communities. Thanks to the grant, residents will receive information and assistance with access to free or low-cost pet services such as vaccinations, spay/neuter and micro-chipping. The Ash Crescent neighborhood has been selected to receive the initial services.
(By the way, there’s a happy ending: Millie and her brother were both adopted into loving homes shortly after being surrendered.)