We wanted to share a very touching story of a family with three dogs, who lost everything when their home burned down. They came to the South Los Angeles shelter believing they had no other option but to surrender their three dogs because they were homeless after the fire, living in their car. A shelter staff member asked our counselor to help them create a plan.
Working with LA Animal Services, instead of surrendering their pets, the dogs went into the shelter as a 30-day personal property hold, which enabled the family to keep their pets safe while they looked for housing. To add to this family’s challenges, mom and one of the daughters is deaf and the other daughter suffers from epilepsy.
Can you imagine what it would feel like to lose your home, all your belongings, and escape the fire with only a few belongings and your pets?
This week, they came back to the shelter to pick up their three dogs. Before they left, the ASPCA spay and neuter clinic sterilized all three dogs at no charge. Due to the families disabilities, the dogs will be allowed to stay where they are living. Because our counselor shared the resource of 311 with the family, they were able to get motel vouchers, and other support. Amazingly, they found a small house to rent!
We would like to tell you the reader of this post that this is an unusual story, it’s not. Low income families with pets can fall into homelessness due to a wide variety of tragedies, including fires, and homes being “red-tagged”, due to slum lord type conditions that far too many of the families that we meet put up with because they can’t move. There is not enough affordable housing in the City of Los Angeles, and definitely not enough places to go with pets.
Since 2013, our South Los Angeles Shelter Intervention program – SIP has prevented more than 11,000 cats and dogs from entering this one shelter. Because of you, who support DDR programs, we are able to do more and help more families.