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Topeka Company Provides Animal Welfare Support During COVID-19
Author: Lindsey Ott, PhD
For decades, Hill’s Pet Nutrition has been a leader in scientific nutritional research for dogs and cats. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Hill’s has been using their long-standing relationships with veterinarians, shelters, and animal welfare organizations to provide support to those affected. Over the last few months, Hill’s has been donating pet food to support shelters and animal welfare organizations. Their efforts have provided grants to help those in need. Using social media, they’ve also worked to highlight the needs of pet parents and encouraged individuals to reach out to shelters and veterinarian clinics for support.
Hill’s Pet Nutrition quickly responded to the economic impact of COVID-19 by supplying food to community food banks and pet food pantries at shelters. Through their Disaster Relief Network, Hill’s rushed over 500,000 pounds of free pet food valued at more than $2M to shelters, vet clinics, governmental organizations, and large nonprofits that care for pets; including the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Humane Society of the United States, and GreaterGood.org.
Their support was in high demand at shelters where populations increased as a result of the pandemic. Remarkably, over 95% of the requests for food were not for the shelter itself but for the shelter to provide the community with food. The Hill’s donations provided critical resources that allowed shelters and organizations to act as distribution points within communities to help families feed their pets at home. “If free pet food is the difference between a pet being surrendered or not, then we are very happy to partner with animal welfare organizations in their efforts to keep pets in their homes,” said Joann Fuller, Brand Engagement Manager, Hill’s US.
In addition to food needs, animal shelters have also experienced an overall reduction of funds because there are fewer opportunities for fundraising events and donor support. To address this need, Hill’s partnered with The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement to provide $400,000 of grants to animal welfare organizations across the US and another $75,000 to animal welfare organizations in Canada. These funds aim to help organizations continue funding things like adoption programs, foster programs, veterinary care, and operational expenses.
Hill’s dedication to help people and their pets has also focused on veterinary professionals. As veterinary clinics are essential businesses during COVID-19, clinics have utilized telemedicine and curbside service to treat patients. To provide financial assistance to veterinary technicians, Hill’s partnered with the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America and the American Veterinary Medical Foundation to create a grant program. “The profession is a cornerstone for Hill’s so we are doing our part to help in these difficult situations,” said Jolle Kirpensteijn, DVM, PhD, DACVS, DECVS, Chief Professional Veterinary Officer, Hill’s US. Veterinary professionals received further support from Hill’s by providing two months of free telemedicine supplies through a partnership with TeleVet, a telemedicine platform. “The world is changing and we will be changing. We need to be looking at new innovative ways how we can deal as veterinarians with clients and their needs,” said Jolle Kirpensteijn. Veterinary professionals are also encouraged to seek additional COVID-19 resources on the American Veterinary Medical Foundation and American Animal Hospital Association websites.
Learn how you can get involved with Hill’s mission to help pets and veterinary professionals during the pandemic by visiting their COVID-19 response landing page.
About the author: Lindsey is a communications volunteer with BioKansas and a Scientist II at KCAS Bioanalytical & Biomarker Services. Dr. Ott’s work focuses on employing cell based neutralizing antibody assays for biopharmaceutical drug development. When she is not in the lab, she is running routes around Kansas City and baking for her friends and family.
About Hill’s Pet Nutrition: At Hill’s, our decades of science and research guide us in creating nutrition that’s a step ahead — so pets and pet parents can enjoy every day together. As the US #1 Veterinarian Recommended pet food brand, knowledge is our first ingredient with 220+ veterinarians, PhD nutritionists and food scientists working to develop breakthrough innovations in pet health. Hill’s Prescription Diet therapeutic nutrition plus our everyday foods, Hill’s Science Diet, Hill’s Healthy Advantage and Hill’s Bioactive Recipe, are sold at vet clinics and pet specialty retailers worldwide. For more information about Hill’s, our products and our forward-thinking approach to nutrition, visit us at HillsPet.com or HillsVet.com, or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.