Animals paying the price, too, as COVID-19 cases rise, KC pet groups say

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With Kansas City seeing record coronavirus cases, pet groups say animals are paying the price. Pet owners are having to put off important procedures, and some animals are even being surrendered.

Michelle Rivera is the CEO of the Pet Resource Center, a local group aiming to combat this side effect of the pandemic.

“We’ve seen an increase in people needing assistance for their pets, especially in food pantry, and we just want to get the word out with cases increasing, people losing their jobs, people financially struggling, that we’re here to help them so they don’t have to worry about feeding their pets,” Rivera said.

Rivera said due to the pandemic, they’ve had double their distribution on pet food since last year, and they’ve seen a 25% increase just in the last few weeks.

“We still have a waiting list of thousands of pets that need vaccinations that are overdue several months, puppies that need vital vaccinations to stay healthy, pet food, and then just spay and neuter, as well,” Rivera said.

Rivera said those crucial procedures get put on the back-burner when a family’s finances are tight.

They’re holding a Black Friday special on vaccinations where people can just drive through.

A new program with the KC Pet Project fosters animals who come from families infected with coronavirus.

“We had a whole family that has COVID, and so they thought they were going to have to give up their animal just because everybody was sick, and we are taking care of their animal for them,” KCPP spokeswoman Tori Fugate said.

The program is free, and the animals are returned to the families when they’re healthy.

Foster families are also provided the resources to do this for free.

“That’s amazing, really, really amazing,” pet owner Gabrielle Woodward sad. “If you’ve got it and want to recover, it is hard to get up and take care of a pet.”

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