New program helps homeless pets during COVID-19

A new program called the "Pets in Need Project" is helping homeless pets.

"When COVID hit, we realized that the homeless and their pets were even more vulnerable than usual," said Ellevet Sciences co-founder Amanda Howland.

During the pandemic, Howland and her team have been visiting vulnerable communities throughout California, like Los Angeles' Skid Row, to offer free veterinary services, supplies and food.

"We, within three weeks, rented a giant 38ft RV, flew out to California, stocked it with medical supplies, and we've been on the road since May 17," said Howland.

Ellevet Sciences is based in Maine but Howland and her co-founder Christian Kjaer wanted to help some of the largest homeless encampments in the country, which is why they came out to California.

"There's really high concentrations of homeless populations and a lot of people have pets as well," said Howland.

"And during COVID is when people really need the help," she said.

According to Howland, they've helped more than 1,000 animals in California.

"It was an absolutely incredible experience and seeing the power of the human-animal bond, and it's stronger in the homeless community than really anywhere we've seen," she said.

It's not uncommon to see homeless community members turn down housing if their pet can't come with them, according to Howland.

"Most of us have the luxury of not having to make these choices such as, you know, am I going to stay on the street and be with my pet? Or do I go to an apartment that doesn't allow pets where I have to give up my pet? And most people choose to stay on the street so they can stay together," said Howland.