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DENVER (KDVR) — Denver Animal Protection has become one of the many animal welfare organizations to benefit from Maddie’s Fund, a national foundation that transforms the way pets across the country are viewed and taken care of.

From Maddie’s Fund, DAP received a $50,000 grant which allowed them to start a pilot program utilizing Human Animal Support Services or HASS, a new animal welfare organizational model that values pets as part of the family-unit. HASS pilot animal shelters make sure that pets stay with their owners, help lost pets get home, and aid pet owners in meeting their pets’ needs.

The importance of HASS came out of the pandemic, as more and more animals found their way into foster care and animal welfare advocates began to fear that the pandemic’s economic impacts would force more people to give up their pets.

“Thanks to Maddie’s Fund, this grant will allow us to broaden the safety net for Denver residents and their pets. Keeping pets with their families is incredibly important to us and we are thankful for the opportunity to expand our efforts through the HASS pilot program,” Alice Nightengale, Director of Denver Animal Protection, a division of Denver Public Health & Environment said.

Funds from the grant will also be used by DAP for educational and promotional purposes to help find and prevent missing animals. Additionally, funds will be put toward microchipping 500 cats with zero cost to owners, as well as providing a pet foster program for residents of Denver who are facing eviction.

For more information on DAP’s Displacement/Eviction Relief Program, visit their website.