The coronavirus pandemic is having a big impact on Valley animal rescues, who are now facing increased calls for help from the public.
With the county shelter no longer taking in owner-surrendered animals, those who want to surrender their pets are turning to local rescues.
"Many are losing, have lost their jobs. They are signing up for unemployment and have no idea if jobs will come back," said Bari Mears, founder of The Phoenix Animal Care Coalition also known as PACC911. It is the umbrella organization for over 100 rescues in the Valley.
Mears said they were getting calls for help from many rescues they partner with. Trisha Houlihan with Saving Paws Rescue told Mears they are seeing a dramatic increase in the number of calls for help.
"Our phones, emails, Facebook messaging have been nonstop with urgent and emergency needs. People are in a panic as they try to re-home pets they can no longer keep. We are turning away strays and owner surrenders but accepting those we can. Our kennel space is full," said Houlihan.
Another rescue that had been hit hard was Boxer Luv.
Randy Rotondo the operations director said, "Nearly every new Boxer that has come in since COVID-19 has required immediate, urgent medical care and, most have required hospitalization. The condition of these strays indicate we've had many Boxers, and so many other breeds out there, suffering from neglect from some time or they're not street 'savvy' and have been seriously injured as a result of being abandoned on the streets."
Mears worries what will happen to these rescues without community support and funding. "Our people are exhausted and to boot, because it's not a time where donations are flourishing many of them are out of funds," said Mears.
Michelle Lewis, shelter director for All About Animals said they are trying to come up with creative ways to raise funds for their rescue.
People in the community have donated homemade masks to the rescue. They are now trying to sell those for donations. The rescue is also planning to host a silent auction in the near future.
Lewis said this is a busy time of year anyway, but this year it's worse due to a decline in donations from the community.
"Kitten season has hit us hard already. We are getting so many requests to take in kittens, moms and kittens, nursing cats. We need kitten formula, kitten food right now especially medical supplies, litter," said Lewis.