St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center now welcomes over 5000 pets into our care each year, but our outreach extends to humans in need as well. Our community outreach programs are focused on helping both pets and people in Northern and Central New Jersey. We are proud to have reached thousands of individuals in 2016, and we’re excited to share updates on our 2016 programs below—as well as our plans for 2017.
Our Food Bank program for pet parents in need has experienced significant growth in 2016. With 2016 program support from M&T Bank and the Church & Dwight Employee Giving Fund, we work with ten human services organizations in New Jersey to distribute pet food and supplies on a regular, ongoing basis to families experiencing financial hardship, and provide support services as needed. We are on track to provide well over 60,000 pet meals to families in need in New Jersey this year—feeding over 183 pets all their meals each day. And we go beyond just food and supplies—we also help clients spay and neuter their pets and receive low-cost medical services. We are committed to meeting the needs of pet parents in our communities in order to keep families together with the pets they love—that’s why we’re looking to further expand this program in 2017 by adding new organizations to our list of partners and deepening our outreach to senior citizen pet parents.
Our 2016 organizational partnerships extend to local domestic abuse organizations, whom we partner with to provide emergency housing for the pets of those fleeing domestic violence. Through our TLCC program (Temporary Loving Critter Care), we help victims leave abusive relationships while ensuring that their animal family members are safe. Statistics show that between 25 and 40 percent of victims with pets remain in unsafe situations due to reluctance about leaving them behind. Through this program, we provide free emergency sheltering through comforting foster care or in-shelter care for all types of pets and enable visitation opportunities with their guardians until they can be reunited.
In 2015, St. Hubert’s launched a new program to provide vaccine clinics in underserved areas in Northern and Central New Jersey; we found that 67% of the pets at our first vaccine clinic were unaltered, and many had never seen a veterinarian before. To better meet this need, we held five vaccine clinics in 2016 in targeted areas in Somerville, Morristown, Roxbury, Maplewood, and Dover, NJ. These clinics, made possible through 2016 support from the Head Family Charitable Foundation, provided free vaccines to those for whom even low-cost options were unaffordable or inaccessible. Across these clinics, 39% had never seen a veterinarian before, and nearly half, 47%, were unaltered. We offered assistance with untreated medical issues, and provided free spay/neuter services for unaltered pets – with great success – 74% of unaltered pets in attendance are now spayed and neutered, showing that there was not an ideological opposition, but rather a lack of accessible care. These clinics are helping pets stay healthy, and enabling pet parents in underserved areas in our communities to receive the support services they need. We are committed to providing future clinics to reach those in need, and providing ongoing support to those who attend our clinics; a new position has been created here at St. Hubert’s—thanks to funding from the Fournier Family Foundation--to help meet the needs of pet parents in underserved communities. Our new Community Care Manager, Jenn Gregory, is already making plans to further expand our community outreach, including organizing winter/spring 2017 vaccine clinics in Newark, South Orange, and East Orange, NJ.
In 2016, our free pet helpline, supported in part through funding from the Head Family Charitable Foundation, has received an average of 50 new cases per month. This service provides assistance for those seeking resources such as low-cost veterinary care and pet-friendly housing information, as well as those seeking help resolving pet behavior issues or searching for lost pets. This year, our pet helpline staff has updated the St. Hubert’s website with online resources to expand our reach, and to make it easy to reach out, our staff is reachable by phone, email, and through our Pet Retention Facebook page. In 2016, our helpline staff has noted an increase in calls reporting found pets, likely a result of our staff developing relationships with many volunteer run county and statewide lost and found groups. Our helpline’s 2016 successes include reuniting lost pets with their families, successfully resolving behavior issues, and providing ongoing encouragement and support to pet parents in our communities.
2016 has been a year of growth and success for St. Hubert’s community outreach programs, and we’re looking forward to continuing and building on this important work in 2017. We are committed to being a resource for our communities—identifying and responding to the needs ofunderserved and at-risk populations and making a difference in the lives of both people and pets in New Jersey. Continue to check our news for more information about our community programs.