Every January, an official tally of our city’s homeless population is conducted which results in funding allocation of support services. Last year, the count was over 3,000 people in San Antonio and Bexar County alone, with concentrations downtown and in encampments throughout the city and distant neighborhoods. They live in shelters, cars, boxes, abandoned buildings, beneath bridges, and sometimes right out in the open. What’s more, they often keep or tend to homeless pets.
Officials respond to thousands of roaming dog reports every year. If captured and identified (via tags or microchips) some of the animals are returned to their owners. Experts say that 1 out of every 5 animals picked up are actually truly homeless.
Tracking the “dog highway”, or the city’s drainage culverts, it’s obvious that dogs, like people, are attracted to this area. It’s relatively secluded, while accessible to nearby food and shelter options. It’s no wonder then that homeless pets are looked after by homeless people frequenting the same areas.
Over 3 million Americans are homeless, with 5-10% of homeless people owning pets. While some places have a higher rate of almost 25%, it’s incredibly hard to measure.
An organization called Pets of the Homeless makes it easy to help people living on the streets with their pets. Every day can be a struggle for the homeless, and homeless pets need equal assistance. You can contribute money for food, veterinary care, and more.
Close to Home
Haven for Hope chairman and treasurer Bill Greehey helped to change lives of countless San Antonians. Since 2010, Haven for Hope has become a national model for research, treatment, and effective rehabilitation of the homeless population.
San Antonio’s homeless pets are also the recipients of Greehey’s generosity and compassion. They have kennels for both dogs and cats, but they need help from time to time. Check out their Amazon Wishlist for items need to benefit their shelter pets. Also, helping homeless pets can be fun and inspirational, like the cattery remodel recently completed there.
Want to Help Homeless Pets?
For animal lovers, it can be heartbreaking to want to help homeless pets but not know how exactly. Check out the City of San Antonio Animal Care Services page for lost of ways you can make a difference. From assisting with low-cost spay and neuter programs to hosting a pet food drive at your workplace, school, or church, or funding projects with Rescue Rebuild, there are ways to help homeless pets here in San Antonio and elsewhere.
Our veterinarians and staff members at Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital are always here to answer your questions or address concerns about homeless pets in our community. Please never hesitate to reach out to us for help. Together, we can affect a positive change for homeless pets in San Antonio.