MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Throughout the pandemic, the Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby County has provided essential work helping animals and families in our community.

Today, they received over $400,000 of American Rescue Plan Act dollars to continue their work.

Helping animals get better and taking care of them before they find their forever homes is what the Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby County does every day. 

But the COVID-19 pandemic has made that mission tougher.

Statistics from 2020 provided by Shelby County show the Humane Society saw an intake increase of 37.5% for strays and a 136% increase in owner-surrendered animals. 

“The pandemic has rocked all our worlds. We’ve had to manage the return to work, we’ve also had to help repair the family and we know that when we’re hit hard, our pets are hit hard too,” Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris said.

Today, Mayor Harris and county commissioners presented a $460,000 check coming from American Rescue Plan Act funding the Humane Society.

Executive Director of The Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby County, Ellen Zahariadis, said the investment is crucial to provide the services they do because there is an inflation for things that the nonprofit needs.

“In particular, our low cost clinic, which we opened during the middle of the pandemic so that pet owners could really have good, quality affordable access to veterinary care and this is going to help ensure that we can continue to do that in our community,” Zahariadis said.

Animals are part of families, but beyond that, she said they provide many social, emotional and health benefits. 

“It’s essential that we have resources like this that help people be able to keep up-to-date on their vaccines. That any kind of skin illnesses or any kind of illnesses they have are taken care of so they don’t spread to other animals. So this is an essential and important service we have for the wellness and the happiness of our community,” Zahariadis said.

If you want to see how you can volunteer at the Humane Society, you can find more information here.