Alexandria, VA

The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria (AWLA) has won a $10,000 grant to help provide assistance to pet owners who might not otherwise be able to afford veterinary care for their animals.

The Mars Petcare Better Cities for Pets program is funded by Mars Petcare and administered by the Humane Society of the United States. The AWLA said funds from the grant will allow the organization to assist pet owners in the community to address urgent or chronic veterinary concerns.

“The AWLA already goes above and beyond to help animals in our facility,” Joanna Fortin, Director of Community Programs, said in a press release, “and we want to be able to extend that same level of care to animals throughout the community. This generous grant from Mars Petcare will mean we can help cherished pets receive much-needed care, regardless of owners’ income level.”

The funding will go towards the AWLA’s Community Programs department, a wing of the shelter founded last fall that found heightened use as the city faced widespread unemployment during the pandemic.

“As the pandemic affected budgets across the region, Fortin and her team have been able to provide pet food and supplies to pet owners in need through the Pet Pantry, which has donated more than 7,000 pounds of goods across the community since April,” the AWLA said in the press release. “The Pet Pantry complements other AWLA programs aimed at pet wellness, including accessible spay/neuter vouchers for low-income families, Pet Care Fairs and Drive-Up clinics to provide no and low-cost vaccinations and AniMeals for pets of senior citizens on fixed incomes.”

The AWLA said the community programs aim to make sure every pet in the city can be cared for as it needs.

“Every pet deserves to be healthy and safe, and every pet owner deserves the resources needed to care for their pets,” said AWLA Executive Director Stella Hanly. “Our Community Programs team strives every day to make that possible for animals across Alexandria. As a nonprofit, we don’t always have the funds to help everyone, but this grant will give us the opportunity to help more pet owners in need, and help those pets stay in homes where they are loved.”

Photo courtesy Animal Welfare League of Alexandria

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