Angels of Assisi’s ‘Guardian Angel’ program serves to care for pets caught up in hard times

Roanoke Valley News

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — As the expiration date for the nationwide eviction moratorium draws closer, Angels of Assisi is working to make sure that people and their pets are not left without a home amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In order to keep pets and pet-owners together, Angels of Assisi has a program in place called Guardian Angel, which provides temporary shelter and care to pets caught in domestic violence, homelessness, hospice care, hospitalization, and mental health treatment.

While the owner receives help from partnered human service organizations, Angels of Assisi will handle housing and medical treatment for the pet.

According to Angels of Assisi, their intent is to put the owner at ease while they get the help they need by providing them the knowledge that their pet is receiving shelter and care.

“Every day, there are numerous families at risk of being evicted,” says Dayna Reynolds, Director of Communications at Angels of Assisi. “We don’t want these families to face the heart-wrenching decision of choosing between a place to live and the pets they love. Through the Guardian Angel program, we can care for the pet while the owner gets back on their feet, with the hopes of reuniting them.”

As evictions caused by the pandemic lead to an increase in requests for help from pet-owners, Angels of Assisi is working to expand the Guardian Angel program using a $10,000 grant provided by the Community Foundation Serving Western Virginia.

“Just last year, over 40 animals entered into the Guardian Angel program,” said Angels of Assisi in a statement released on Thursday, Jan. 21. “With the funds granted by the Community Foundation, Angels of Assisi will be enabled to help keep more people and pets together during this season of uncertainty.”

Angels of Assisi has partnered with the Roanoke Police Department, the Regional Center of Animal Care and Protection, New Freedom Farm, and Total Action for Progress – Domestic Violence Services, all of which are critical to the Guardian Angel program.

When asked if President Joe Biden’s order to the CDC to extend the eviction moratorium until at least March 31 would result in any changes to Angels of Assisi’s plan, Reynolds told WFXR News it would not.

“We hope this helps more people and their pets stay in their homes…We will still be here to help community members with their pets who are in need of housing,” Reynolds said.

If you or someone you know needs assistance through the Guardian Angel program, you are asked to email adoptions@angelsofassisi.org.

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