Dog and cat owners in Volusia County will get a helping hand Saturday – free pet food and microchips, courtesy of Volusia County Animal Services and the ASPCA. The give-away is the county’s way of helping residents who are struggling to feed their pets due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Free pet food and microchips available to the public on Saturday
“We’re committed to serving the needs of our citizens and their pets during this difficult time,” said Volusia County Animal Services Director Adam Leath. “We want everyone to know that Animal Services is a resource for the community and we’re ready and willing to help.”
The pet food – about $10,000 worth – is on its way to Volusia County’s Animal Services’ headquarters at 1250 Indian Lake Road in Daytona Beach, where Saturday’s event will take place. The dog and cat food is being donated, thanks to a partnership with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. For residents who bring their pet with them on Saturday, Volusia County Animal Services also will implant a microchip on-the-spot for free while the owner waits. The event will start at 9 a.m. and continue for as long as supplies last.
About the size of a grain of rice, microchips are implanted just under the skin of a pet. With the wave of a hand-held wand over the pet’s back, the ID code on the microchip will lead to the owner’s name and contact information — significantly increases the odds of a happy reunion with pets that get lost or separated from their home and are later found wandering. The free microchips come just in time for the June 1 start of the hurricane season, when pets sometimes get separated from their homes during storms.
For convenience and social distancing, Saturday’s event will feature drive-thru service. While residents won’t have to get out of their vehicle, they are asked to wear face covering. There will be two drive-up lines on Saturday – one just for pet food and the other for both food and a microchip. The food will be loaded into the vehicles for residents. If they’re also there to get a pet microchipped, county staff will remove the pet from the vehicle and take it inside to the clinic for the quick and painless procedure. Just a few minutes later, and the pet will be brought back out to the owner’s vehicle.
The county’s first event of this kind, Leath considers it an opportunity to help pets and people – now, and into the future.
“We applaud all those stepping up for pets in need, even in the midst of so much anxiety,” said Leath. “When this crisis ends, we will be stronger, wiser and more compassionate as a result of the courageous work being done by so many people right now.”