In a city where 1 in 4 people live in poverty and many more barely make ends meet, we must help struggling pet owners care for and keep their pets rather than face the heartbreaking decision to surrender them.
Until recently, thousands of pets were surrendered to Philadelphia shelters each year due to treatable medical issues. Their owners lacked access to affordable veterinary care, and felt they had no choice but to say goodbye to their beloved pets.
PAWS opened its first Spay/Neuter and Wellness Clinic in 2010, as part of our mission to reduce pet homelessness in Philadelphia by preventing it in the first place. PAWS’ two Clinics, in Grays Ferry and the Northeast, provide a safety net to over 35,000 pets each year by offering spay/neuter and basic veterinary care, including vaccinations and treatments for common illnesses and injuries.
The positive effects of pet ownership on physical and mental health are well documented, but for those who are struggling, it is a true lifeline. For many of our clients, their pet is all they have. The bond between people and their pets is a source of comfort, companionship, and stability. Daily, pet owners tell us that our services have meant the difference between keeping and giving up their cherished companions. We are honored to provide that needed care, relieve that stress, and preserve that vital bond.
As the city’s largest provider of affordable basic vet care, the impact of our work is clear: in the last decade, the number of homeless pets entering the city’s animal control shelter has plummeted by more than 60% (from over 30,000 annually to less than 12,000). At the same time, the survival rate has skyrocketed to nearly 90%.