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October 06, 2023

Rep. Aguilar Introduces Bill to Create Inaugural Federal Funding Program for Animal Shelters

Today, Rep. Pete Aguilar introduced his bill, the Supporting Our Shelters Act, to create the first-ever federal funding program for animal shelters at the San Bernardino County Devore Animal Shelter. The Supporting Our Shelters Act would create a brand-new grant program under the Department of Agriculture to assist with shelter operations across the country. Animal shelters will be able to apply for grants to support services, including feeding, sheltering, veterinary care, recreational activities and the hiring, training and retention of staff.

“Animal shelters play a crucial role in our community. They create a safe space, provide medical care to countless animals in need, help reunite lost pets with their families and most importantly, they give abandoned and abused animals a second chance at life,” said Rep. Aguilar. “I’m proud to be introducing this bill to create the first-ever federal grant program for animal shelters so that these pets waiting for their forever homes can receive the treatment and care they deserve, and we can recruit and retain more compassionate individuals to care for them in the meantime.”

After the COVID-19 pandemic, many shelters have experienced rapid increases in pets being abandoned due to their owners not having the capacity to care for them full-time. This new program would provide much-needed support and funding to publicly-run shelters that are quickly filling up and becoming overwhelmed.

The bill has been endorsed by both the Humane Society and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

“As a national organization, the ASPCA collaborates with hundreds of local shelters and rescues across the country as we work together toward our shared goal of helping save and improve the lives of animals in communities throughout the United States,” said Brynáe Riggins, manager of federal legislation for the ASPCA. “We have seen first-hand the challenges facing animal shelters right now as more animals are coming into shelters than are leaving, with multiple factors converging simultaneously to impact shelters’ capacity for care including staffing and veterinarian shortages, as well as an increasing proportion of animals with greater medical and behavior needs. The Supporting Our Shelters Act would establish a grant program to provide federal resources to shelters across the country and we’re grateful to Representative Aguilar for introducing this bill to support local shelters in their lifesaving efforts to find loving homes for the millions of animals who enter our nation’s shelters every year.”