PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Eight animal welfare organizations across the Valley have formed the Pet Housing Help AZ Task Force to prepare for a surge in homeless pets as the end of the eviction moratorium looms.
“We realized that there was likely to be a pet housing crisis,” said Arizona Humane Society President and CEO Dr. Steven Hansen. “And we didn’t want to repeat what happened back in 2008 when many animals were left on the streets because of people who had their homes foreclosed on.”
The most recent stimulus bill extends the temporary halt to evictions through the end of January. Still, past-due rent keeps piling up for many, and the Arizona Humane Society says that 22-39% of renters could be affected here in Arizona.
They’re anticipating that around 5,000 pets a month could start becoming homeless in Arizona once the eviction moratorium ends.
“So what we did is we put together a group of programs,” Hansen said.
To prevent shelters from being overrun, the Pet Housing Help AZ Task Force will focus on temporary foster care for pets. They’re currently building a website that will be live in January where people can request help or sign up to foster animals.
The taskforce will also be providing veterinary medical resources for people who otherwise couldn’t afford it.
But even with the eviction moratorium in place, the pandemic has already increased the need for help with pet housing.
“We’ve seen, since March, about a 47% increase in requests for assistance,” said Arizona Pet Project Executive Director Leanna Taylor.
The Arizona Pet Project connects families and community members with services to keep them from needing to give away their pets to a shelter.
“It’s typically not a single issue that drives a family to have to surrender their animals,” Taylor said. “It’s the compounding of a lot of different problems.”
Though the loss of income because of the pandemic plus an eviction from housing could force many families to give up their beloved animals.
“It means the disruption of a family,” Taylor said.
The Arizona Pet Project, Arizona Humane Society, Lost our Home Pet Rescue, Arizona Animal Welfare League, Maricopa County Animal Care and Control, Heidi’s Village, HALO Animal Rescue and Altered Tails will all be a part of the task force.
To give help or request help, go to pethousinghelpaz.org