Family pets have become part of the collateral damage resulting from last spring’s Gulf oil spill.
People who were financially devastated by the disaster are relinquishing their pets to area shelters in record numbers. According to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF), which is the charitable arm of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), up to four times as many animals are being left at shelters this year as were given up last year.
Hill’s Pet Nutrition and veterinary drug manufacturer Merial have partnered with the AVMF to develop a program to help vets and other pet care workers in the Gulf region support pet owners who are unable to supply food and medical care to their animals.
The Gulf Coast Pet Relief Program has slated 90 veterinary clinics and five shelters in the region to receive $145,000 in funding and pet food to help reimburse the free goods and services they have provided pet owners during the oil spill crisis.
Animal welfare organizations have also stepped up to the plate, including the Louisiana SPCA and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
With a $100,000 grant from the ASPCA, the LA/SPCA launched the Gulf Coast Companion Animal Relief Program to provide free pet care to families whose livelihood depends on the Gulf’s fishing industry.
Work also continues to rehab and relocate wildlife affected by the spill. Per Veterinary Practice News:
In all, at least 5,828 animals affected by the gulf oil spill were collected within the incident area, according to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report released in early August. These included 4,914 birds (3,271 dead), 843 sea turtles (503 dead), 69 mammals (64 dead) and two “other” reptiles.
BP reported in August that engineers were sealing the well for good and that oil was no longer spewing into the gulf.