Vets to help homeless people with pets during winter months

Vets to help homeless people with pets during winter months
Homeless people with pets will receive help during the winter months. Credit: Prins Laurent Foundation

During the winter months, homeless people and their pets will receive help from vets as part of the Prince Laurent Foundation "Winter Plan."

Starting from 15 November until at least 15 March, vets will hand out a "human-animal kit," containing a thermos cup, a thermal blanket, a thermal mat for their animal, a reusable bag for kibble, a foldable bowl and a holder for poop bags.

Before the coronavirus crisis, the foundation provided heated containers with sanitary facilities to ensure homeless people are not separated from their faithful companion, as regular homeless shelters don't allow pets to be taken in.

"Organising shelter for this target group is not possible due to the coronavirus crisis," Patricia Rutten, spokesperson of the foundation, stated in a press release.

"Despite the current obstacles, the Prince Laurent Fondation refuses to abandon these vulnerable people," she said, adding that this is why the new concept was introduced to bring the help to homeless people, together with Samu Social's Maraude team.

They will also inform the homeless about the services of the foundation and give them more information on how to take care of their pets.

Both the kibble bags and thermoses given to homeless people can be filled up free of charge at Brussels establishments that are part of the non-profit organisation Hartelijke Handelelaars' network, indicated by a sticker on the door. Here, they can also warm up or get a free meal together with their animal friends.

Meanwhile, the foundation is also negotiating with the Salvation Army in the hopes they will offer four beds where homeless people can sleep with their pets, as well as get dinner and breakfast.

The charity put a call out on Facebook asking people to help by sending in poop bags, and to ask for volunteers to sew reusable bags for kibble.

Since 2011, the foundation has helped provide services to homeless people with pets in Brussels, especially during the winter months.

"In all those years, hundreds of homeless people and their four-legged friends have called on us. That shows that our Winter Plan is necessary," Rutten said.

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