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Reach Underserved Communities

In the U.S., an estimated 23 million pets live in poverty with their people. Regardless of socio-economic challenges, people care deeply for their animals, but don't always have access to services or struggle to cover the cost. Through innovative programs like Pets For Life we’re meeting people where they are, reaching out proactively to close the gap in animal services and keep animals happy in loving homes. Discover how your organization can provide information and resources to people and pets in the underserved areas of your community.

Spotlight > Reach Underserved Communities

Bad neighborhoods

Carrie Allan, senior editorial director for The HSUS, examines the reality and the mythology surrounding “Scary Neighborhoods” in this country and the responsibility of animal welfare groups.

Pet lovers, heads up: In my years reporting about animal welfare in the U.S., it’s come to my attention that there are some very scary places pocketed away inside our country.

You know the places I’m talking about. You probably have one nearby. You grew up hearing about it, from your parents, the news, the movies: the East Side, the South Side, north of Broad, Vermont Avenue, Sunnyside, Bed Stuy, Boyle Heights, Liberty City, East St. Louis, West Baltimore, Camden, East Oakland, the Cass Corridor.

Where’s your nearest “scary place”? How often have you been there?

Read Bad neighborhoods

Tools and Resources >

  • Blog Post

    A new approach to community connections

    The Wisconsin Humane Society uses positive experiences in the shelter as a springboard for trust in the community

    I want to tell you about a family that we at the Wisconsin Humane Society met in 2014. On the surface, the family might have seemed like unlikely partners, but our experience with this family reminded us that the people we serve are not barriers to us achieving our mission, but are in fact an integral part of it.

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  • Blog Post

    From Virginia Beach to Vieques

    The VBSPCA was partnered with Vieques Humane Society as part of the Sister Shelter Project, thanks in large part to Maddie's Fund.

    The Sister Shelter Project pairs overwhelmed Puerto Rican shelters with thriving stateside shelters for mentorship and support.

    In an effort to assist overwhelmed animal shelters of Puerto Rico, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and Maddie’s Fund established the Sister Shelter Project, pairing Puerto Rican shelters with thriving shelters in the mainland United States. You can imagine how honored we were when the Virginia Beach SPCA (VBSPCA), a long-time HSUS Emergency Placement Partner, was selected to be part of this incredible project.

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  • Blog Post

    Reaching outside the shelter walls

    Implementing Pets for Life means taking free medical care, services and information to people and their pets in areas of our community where access to resources are limited due to the systemic challenges of poverty

    While some pets are at shelters for reasons beyond anyone’s control, many have loving homes and their surrender is preventable.

    When I signed the contract as executive director of Peaceful Animal Adoption Shelter (PAAS) in Vinita, Oklahoma, my goal was to save thousands of dogs and cats through local adoptions.

    We had a brand new, beautiful facility, and within the first 60 days, we realized we had more than 50 dogs and 50 cats in the shelter and an owner-surrender waiting list of more than 150 dogs and 175 cats.

    The number of adoptions? Four.

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  • Magazine Article

    A delicate balance

    On an island with limited resources but deep pride in its horses, The HSUS partners with locals to forge a path forward

    A tiny island in Puerto Rico, Vieques is a study in contrasts: It's blessed with beautiful beaches but plagued by a poor economy. Horses roam free, serving as a popular tourist attraction, but also causing damage in towns and creating dangerous driving conditions; serious accidents involving vehicles and horses are common. To help provide a safer and healthier future for all the animals on Vieques, The HSUS and its global arm, Humane Society International, are working with locals on projects ranging from spay/neuter clinics for companion animals to a contraceptive program for horses.

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  • Magazine Article

    Walking a mile in the other veterinarian’s shoes

    Public health veterinarian Tamerin Scott, right, a frequent volunteer at the Amanda Foundation’s quarterly Wags for Wellness in Watts clinics in Los Angeles, delivers a pooch into waiting arms.

    Shelter vets and private practitioners can save lives through collaboration

    Ideally, all veterinarians would work in harmony to ensure animals in their communities receive the medical attention they need. Unfortunately, relationships between shelter veterinarians and private practitioners are often marked by misunderstanding or mistrust. The persistent, misguided stereotypes—private vets are greedy, shelter vets provide inferior care—can make cooperation difficult. In Southern California, the veterinary community is trying to improve communication between the two camps—with the goal of greater understanding and partnerships to benefit animals.

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  • Magazine Article

    Marketing joy

    Find instructions on how to build a collapsible kissing booth at picturemeathome.org.

    Nonprofit offers creative campaign ideas and free marketing materials for shelters and rescues

    You likely already know the value of adoption promotions that get your community involved and inspired, but if your creative juices are running dry or you lack design skills, Picture Me @ Home is here to help.

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