BOWIE — The SPCA/Humane Society of Prince George’s County (PGSPCA) received a $2,500 grant from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) which will go toward its new program that will treat sick and injured shelter animals in Prince George’s County, prevent them from being euthanized and allow them to find homes.
“More and more we find that the Prince George’s County shelter has injured and sick animals that they cannot accommodate and so we want to be able to help,” said PGSPCA President Tamela Terry. “We see ourselves as a partner and a supplement to what the shelter, the municipal shelter, can do and we want to be able to help those animals that are too sick and too injured to be helped in the shelter setting.”
These funds will go toward starting a new program called Helping Every Animal with Love (HEAL). With this program, the PGSPCA will take the sick or injured animals out of the shelter and pay for them to be treated. After they are recovered, they will help to find the animal a new home.
“If they are young enough and otherwise healthy and adoptable, there is no reason a broken leg or, in the case of this recent kitten a diaphragmatic hernia, super adoptable animals except for a tragic injury or illness and we can fix that and they can go on to live a long happy life with a loving family,” Terry said.
The $2,500 came out Lil BUB’s Big Fund for the ASPCA, the most applied for the grant in the history of the ASPCA and the first national fund for special needs pets.
Founded in 2014 after Mike Bridavsky made t-shirts of his friend’s cat, Bub, as a fun joke, Bub quickly became a local and national phenomenon. They created an online store for the shirts and donated the money they made to the local shelter.
“I didn’t feel like I was qualified to designate these funds and decide where they should go,” Bridavsky said. “So we started a partnership with the ASPCA called Lil BUB’s Big Fund, and it was the first national fund for special needs pets and my criteria for this fund was that all the money we raised would specifically be used to help homeless pets with special needs.”
Lil BUB’s Big Fund for the ASPCA opens their grant cycle every fall and usually receives about 500 applications from all over the country. Each year, they are able to raise between $70-100,000 from their online store and meet and greets.
In 2018, they were able to give out 28 grants, $78,500 in total, to 28 organizations including the PGSPCA. Since its formation in 2014, they have given away $420,000 in donations.
“Turns out it’s where most funds are needed which makes sense,” Bridavsky said. “Special needs pets are the hardest to adopt, have the highest rate of euthanasia and are the most expensive to care for, so they are always the first ones to get euthanized.”
With the help of Lil BUB’s Big Fund, in the first month of HEAL, the PGSPCA was able to assist two animals, a kitten named Evie and a bulldog named Tessa.
“In the case of the kitten, she was found as a stray, and she was at the shelter, and she was having trouble breathing,” Terry said. “The shelter took her to the vet and diagnosed her, and the veterinarian did an x-ray and found that she had a diaphragmatic hernia, her intestines were, the wall that would hold her intestines down did not exist so the intestines in her chest and that’s why she could not breathe well.
“In that case, the shelter would have put her down because they did not have the money or the other resources to treat and recover an animal like that.”
The PGSPCA stepped in seeing no reason why Evie should not be helped if they had the funds to do it and got her the surgery she needed. Now the ten-week-old kitten is recovering smoothly and will be up for adoption in a month.
Tessa is a nine-month-old bulldog and was unadoptable because she suffered from an injury that prematurely closed the growth plate prematurely causing her leg to grow into a deformation.
Instead of letting her get put down by the shelter or have her live the rest of her life in pain, the PGSPCA paid for her surgery to have an orthopedic surgery to extend her bone.
Currently, Tessa is recovering and will have physical therapy before being adopted.
Although the PGSPCA was able to get these two animals treated, the surgeries were expensive and there is not much money left in the grant.
As the organization receives no state or county funds, all of their activities are supported by contributions from grants, dues and other forms of fundraising. Having already used $1,500 on Evie and Tessa, Terry said the PGSPCA will continue to apply for more funding in the hopes of assisting as many animals as possible.
“This is exactly what our organization was formed for almost 50 years ago, to help animals who don’t have owners because we care so much about how this county treats its animals and we want to make this county a better place for animals,” Terry said.