ACS: Animal neglect cases rise in San Antonio, reasons likely pandemic-related

Free resources available for pet owners struggling financially

Folks may be struggling to provide for their furry friend, but officials say there are resources available.

SAN ANTONIO – Animal Care Services has reported a recent rise in animal neglect cases in San Antonio.

Animal neglect comes in many forms, according to ACS officials.

“Some of the things we see are an animal tied up without access to food, water, shelter. Additionally, we see folks struggling to give their animal appropriate food, inadequate shelter, just from a perspective of, ‘I can’t afford to buy a dog house or a bag of dog food,’” said Officer Shannon Sims, assistant director of Animal Care Services.

Sims said the reasons pet neglect is on the rise are most likely pandemic-related.

The first reason has to do with people paying more attention to what’s going on around them and making calls to report neglect.

“A lot more people are staying home. They’re getting more visibility on what’s going on in their neighborhood,” Sims said. “These problems may have been going on for an extended period of time, but folks just haven’t been there to actually witness it.”

The other reason is that the pandemic has left many families in financial crisis. Some people have lost their jobs and are struggling to feed their kids and their pets.

Sims wants those families to know there are free resources for them.

“San Antonio Food Bank actually has a division within them called Daisy Cares. Folks that are struggling financially not only can get food for themselves but also get some resources for their animals in the form of dog food, leashes, different things like that,” he said.

As KSAT reported in August, ACS has seen a record number of pet adoptions. Sims said, although it’s exciting to see animals find homes, it’s important that people think about whether they’re able to care for a pet responsibly.

Record spike in pet adoptions, fostering amid pandemic

“If you’re not financially prepared to make that commitment, it’s better for the animal and for you to wait until you’re in a better situation,” he said.

To apply to receive free resources for your pet, you can call (210) 431-8326, or visit the Daisy Cares website.

The organization has distribution sites in different parts of the city, and you can find out which one is closest to you.

If you see animal abuse or neglect, call 311. You can remain anonymous.

About the Authors:

Courtney Friedman is a KSAT anchor and reporter. She has an ongoing series called Loving in Fear, confronting Bexar County’s domestic violence epidemic. She's also covered Hurricane Harvey, the shootings in Sutherland Springs and Santa Fe, and tornadoes throughout Texas. She’s a California native and proud Longhorn who loves calling SA home.