The Watts Pet Resource Center takes place the last Monday of each month. This resource center opened in January, and for three consecutive months, we have served a total of 75 pet owners in the following ways.
61% needed a free voucher for a spay or neuter voucher, 12% needed help with a problem, which was multiple issues that included medical treatment for their cat or dog.
10% needed pet food or other supplies, and the rest of the 17% needed a variety of services, for dogs attacked by other dogs, dogs hit by cars, dogs that needed surgery (tumor removal or dental), and even one dog that had been shot, and likely would have died if our counselors didn’t work with the owner of the dog immediately to save her life.
96% of the pet owners were in housing. Of the 4% experiencing homelessness, all were working with a case manager or an agency. 79% are women bringing their pets. Almost 50% of the pet owners were bilingual or only spoke Spanish. 43% were employed full time, 20% part time, and the rest were either retired or disabled. 80% identified as being Hispanic 18% Black and 2% White
62% receive some type of public assistance
60% of the people had owned their cat or dog for 1-10 years 9% more than 10 years. 70% of the pets had never had a litter, 20% had a litter, and the rest did not know.
Only 50 % of the pets had ever been taken to a veterinarian by their owner. 66% acquired their pet from a family member or friend and about 20% found the pet as a stray. Interestingly, only 10% adopted from a shelter, with a small percentage buying a dog from a breeder.
Of course this is a small sampling of pet owners, and we assume that the people who truly love and care about their pets would show up to our monthly resource center, but some of these numbers reveal a great deal about what’s going on in the Watts community in regard to families with pets.
We will continue this monthly clinic the last Monday of each month through the summer. Some of you reading this post may wonder, why the last week of the month? From our experience, doing this work for two decades, we know, money can run out, choices have to be made, and if there isn’t enough money to buy dog or cat food, people get creative, and feed them whatever is available. This is one of the many reasons why communities like Watts has free roaming dogs, who have a home, but are hungry, or intact and looking to find a mate.
Being in the community we can meet puppies like the adorable pup in this photo, make sure they get vaccinated, microchiped, and sterilized before their first litter. This project is a collaboration with LA Animal Services and Watts Project that compliments all the amazing work that the Amanda Foundation is doing, and the investment they have made for many years in this community via their mobile spay/neuter clinic. It’s a TEAM EFFORT!!!
Developing more Pet Resource Centers throughout the City of Los Angeles and beyond is our long term goal. As we have seen in the Skid Row community, and now in Watts, if the services are in the community, easy to access, consistent and clear, pet owners who respond positively. We believe this is how we see less cats and dogs in the shelter system, making this long term investment because we all need help sometimes