New program offers 60 days of free pet care to owners in need

For the time being, dogs, cats and even a bonded pair of pigeons have a temporary home at the Animal Humane Society in Golden Valley. But after these animals are adopted into their forever homes, the organization wants to make sure they stay there with a new resource. 

The Humane Society recently launched a temporary pet housing program, which allows pets to receive up to 60 days of free housing and veterinary care, like sterilizations and vaccines, when their owner is experiencing homelessness, eviction, or another emergency. 

"Our community members really need more support than ever. There are folks that are struggling with financial changes, job changes, all kinds of things," said Anne Gass, rescue relations manager at the Animal Humane Society. 

"When people are going through those difficult times of crisis, they rely on their family, and that includes their pets."

The program was made possible through a $125,000 grant from PetSmart Charities. 

One of the top reasons pets are surrendered is due to housing. With the recent closing of Minnesota's rental assistance program and the upcoming end of the eviction moratorium in June, Gass says the service will be needed. 

"We anticipate that over the coming months that the need could become even greater," she said.

Make no mistake, this isn't long-term doggy daycare. Owners eligible for the program will be referred by local social service agencies. 

"Through part of that intake process, those groups would be able to recognize the pet need and they would refer those folks to AHS," said Gass. 

The program isn't just for dogs and cats. AHS is also able to help out the owners of guinea pigs, rabbits and a variety of other animals.