Michelson Found Animals Foundation, Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, and YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles’ Weingart East Los Angeles hosted a Pet Pantry and Wellness Pup-Up on July 12th, to supply pet owners in the Boyle Heights-area with pet food, veterinary services, and microchipping. The event is part of our Better Neighbor Project, an initiative to support underserved communities and their pets. On-site services were provided by Home Dog LA, Bark Avenue Foundation, Hollywood Grooming, Spay-4-LA and Spay Neuter Project Los Angeles.
With the unemployment rate higher than 20% due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many Angelenos are struggling to make ends meet. And, for the more than 2/3 of families that have pets, food insecurity extends to furry family members as well. Latinos, which make up 93% of the Boyle Heights neighborhood that the Weingart East Los Angeles YMCA serves, are particularly vulnerable in this crisis: the latest U.S. jobs report shows that Latinos are the worst hit, with a jobless rate higher than any other ethnic group of 17.6%. Additionally, because of this financial hardship, some Angelenos are worried they may need to surrender their beloved pets, and the city is concerned about an influx of animals at local shelters. “In these unprecedented times, so many people are struggling to make ends meet – and that extends to the ability to feed and care for their pets,” said Brett Yates, acting executive director of Michelson Found Animals. “Michelson Found Animals is the largest funder of pet surrender prevention in Los Angeles county and works with dozens of local organizations to build programs that serve underfunded communities and pets at the highest risk.”
Through this partnership with the YMCA over the past two months, we have distributed 2,500 bags of pet food, conducted 107 wellness checks and 11 Spay/Neuter surgeries. The need in the community is high and we will continue to work to provide these necessary supplies and services during this challenging time.