Module 6: Integration of shelter and community healthcare programs for at-risk pets

Pets for Life: Addressing Pet Care Inequities

Pets for Life (PFL), established by HSUS, is a comprehensive, long-term approach addressing inequities in access to pet resources for people in underserved communities. This program is “driven by social justice and guided by the philosophy that a deep connection with pets transcends socio-economic, racial and geographic boundaries, and no one should be denied the opportunity to experience the benefits, joy and comfort that come from the human-animal bond.”

PFL is a door-to-door community outreach support service for pet owners, providing free veterinary care, transportation to and from veterinary appointments, and other free resources for pets living in poverty. In the communities selected for PFL services, 88% of the pets were not sterilized, 70% had never been to a veterinarian, and 78% of the pet owners had not reached out to animal welfare agencies for assistance. The free spay/neuter services combined with transportation has resulted in sterilization of almost 90% of the pets in these communities. To date, the Pets for Life program has served more than 200,000 pets in poverty, providing more than 120,00 spay/neuter surgeries and 550,000 medical services.

Check out the PFL website to learn more.

Watch This

The core PFL programs are located in the most impoverished and underserved communities in Los Angeles and Philadelphia. The PFL team provides free pet services and information to pet owners in the most underserved communities of Los Angeles and Philadelphia on a daily basis. Meet some of the pet owners in the communities in these 2 short videos:
Pets For Life 100k Pets Served (3:31)

Helping Pets and People in Los Angeles (2:28)


Lifeline Animal Project

Pets For Life also mentors more than 40 shelters providing community outreach programs in 35 other cities in the US. One of these mentored programs is the Lifeline Animal Project in Atlanta.

The Lifeline Animal Project focus area includes 7 Atlanta zip codes in Fulton County, where 38% of people live below the poverty level. In partnership with Fulton County Animal Services, the program provides free pet food, veterinary care, pet supplies, transportation, behavior assistance and more to these communities with the goal of helping to keep pets with the people who love them and prevent surrenders to the Fulton County Animal Services shelter. In 2022, this PFL group provided 721 spay/neuter surgeries, 7618 medical procedures and treatments, and assisted 5750 pets.

Watch This

In the following video, learn how the Lifeline Animal Project PFL program chose their target communities, how many pets in these communities had never been to a veterinarian, the average cost per pet in the program vs. that for keeping the pet in the shelter, and the keys to success.
Pets For Life: Lifeline Animal Project (8:35)


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