When the COVID-19 pandemic forced people across the United States to shelter in place, many decided to share their stay at home time with a new pet.
Applications for pet adoptions and foster placements rose tenfold at animal shelters from New York to Missouri. Calls for support from struggling shelters or other facilities got thousands of replies. A few shelters were completely emptied of animals.This unprecedented situation launched what is now a new effort to reimagine the future of animal shelters.
The Human Animal Support Services (HASS) initiative, created in part by MFA national shelter engagement director Gina Knepp, takes aim at reshaping the relationship between animal shelters and their communities. Its underlying mission is to keep people and pets together. Backed by some of the most influential organizations in animal philanthropy, HASS has collaborated with 200-plus organizations across multiple states and countries.