BARNSTABLE, MA — The flattening of Cape Cod’s tourist season, combined with record closures of restaurants and bars, has left thousands of Cape residents facing economic hardship, even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage.
This harsh reality has caused staffers at the Cape Cod branch of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to brace for a potential wave of pets surrendered by families who can no longer afford to keep them. To stave this off, and to keep pets at home with the families who love them, the MSPCA will host its first ever drive-through pet food pantry.
The pantry will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m on Sunday and Monday.
“It’s no surprise to anyone that Cape Cod is suffering mightily from the pandemic’s economic fallout, and this has us very concerned for pet owners already living close to the edge,” said Mike Keiley, the director of adoption centers at the MSPCA-Angell. “We want to help people and animals, and our approach is to be as proactive as possible — delivering help in the form of food and low cost spay and neuter services to ensure these families can keep their beloved pets.”
Feeding Hungry Pets
The drive-through food pantry coincides with the formal launch of the MSPCA-Cape Cod’s Community Outreach program, an extension of the services the MSPCA has been providing in Boston, Methuen, Lawrence and Lowell for the last two years, and which has already provided over 727,600 pet meals and nearly 3,300 discounted spay, neuter and other veterinary services to families who need it.
“We’ve given out over 55,000 pet meals since the shutdown orders were announced, and we expect to distribute 120,000 more meals over the next 12 months, such is the need for help on Cape Cod,” Keiley said.
The Cape team’s efforts will focus on Hyannis initially, where research and feedback from residents indicate that the need is highest, and then expand Cape-wide in the months ahead.
Community Spay and Neuter
In addition to food relief, the MSPCA-Cape Cod is now booking low-cost spay and neuter services to help control the pet population on the Cape. For Hyannis residents on public assistance, the cost will be $75 per dog and $10 per cat. For more information about the program, and qualification criteria, readers can click www.mspca.org/capespay.