NEW YORK — As part of its Relief and Recovery Initiative, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has pledged to support 200,000 companion animals impacted by COVID-19 across the United States through pet food and supply donations, emergency boarding, veterinary care and funding.

"During this incredibly challenging time, people across the world are turning to their pets for comfort and companionship,” said Matt Bershadker, president and chief executive officer of ASPCA. “We are committed to helping animals stay healthy and safe at home with their families by enabling access to critical medical services, pet food, and supplies in communities that need them most. These resources will sustain those important family bonds as well as alleviate stress on animal shelters."

So far, the ASPCA has set up regional pet food distribution centers in New York City, Miami, Los Angeles and Asheville, N.C., as well as providing free pet food to local animal shelters in other cities.

These distribution centers are supported by donations and funding provided by Petco Foundation, PetSmart Charities, Stella & Chewy’s, and Kathy Taggares, a long-time supporter of the ASPCA who has donated a running total of $2.37 million to the organization.

The ASPCA also delivered more than 8,000 lbs of pet food for dogs living in remote Alaskan villages who have struggled with pet care resources amid the pandemic.

A hotline has also been established in the New York City area to connect pet owners with information, resources and support.

"Although critical animal care resources are now available for pet owners who need them – including pet food, urgent medical services, and emergency boarding – knowing how and where to access these services during a crisis can be challenging,” Bershadker said. “The NYC COVID-19 Pet Hotline will significantly help solve that problem.”

In addition, the ASPCA’s emergency relief grant program is donating at least $2 million to local animal welfare organizations providing support to homeless and at-risk sheltered animals.

The animal welfare organization has helped more than 40,000 dogs, cats and horses since launching its Relief and Recovery Initiative in March.

Read about other pet industry companies giving back to support people impacted by COVID-19.