Mars Launches Animal Shelter Volunteer Program to Address Urgent Crisis

Julia Rivera//October 27, 2022//

Mars Launches Animal Shelter Volunteer Program to Address Urgent Crisis

Julia Rivera //October 27, 2022//

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Press release: Mars

Mars Petcare – proudly part of the Mars family of brands – recently announced it is putting its strength and scale as the world’s largest pet care company behind the launch of its largest shelter volunteer program ever. Supporting Mars Petcare’s ambition to end pet homelessness, the program – Service Humans Needed –  enlists the help of more than 60,000 Mars associates and pet advocates across the U.S. and Canada to reciprocate the support pets show us by volunteering acts of service to help shelters and pets in need.

Across North America, shelters are on pace to have the worst rates of overpopulation and resource constraints in at least three years, with more than 250,000 dogs and cats in U.S. shelters and 80,000 across Canada who need help. According to a recent survey from Adopt a Pet, nearly 9 in 10 animal shelters and rescue organizations in the U.S. reported that resource constraints and overpopulation have remained consistent or worsened since the first half of 2022.

“As the shelter crisis has developed in recent months, we talked with many partners across the animal welfare community about how and where we could best help,” said Silja Schiller-Moumtzidis, global director of shelters and pet adoptions, Mars Petcare. “Shelter teams work tirelessly to help pets in need. We are thrilled that by uniting associates across Mars in a timely volunteer program, we can offer relief when it’s needed most.”

To help alleviate some of the resource challenges facing shelters, pet advocates and pet parents are being encouraged to become a “service human” to support pets in their communities in multiple ways, including:

  • Volunteering their time at local animal shelters 
  • Volunteering their homes by fostering and adopting 
  • Volunteering their social platforms by sharing adoptable shelter pets on social media 

“Our Petcare purpose – A Better World for Pets – connects and inspires all Mars associates giving us meaningful opportunities to make a difference in the lives of pets. With a growing shelter crisis, that means uniting all our associates across our Mars businesses to step in and support shelters and pets in need,” said Jam Stewart, vice president of corporate affairs, Mars Petcare. “Without hesitation, pets offer us support, companionship, protection and so much more. But right now, they need us and through small acts of service, we as a collective community can make a significant impact in helping cats and dogs in shelters find their forever homes.”

Giving Back and Engaging More than 60,000 Mars Associates

Throughout the year, Mars Petcare and its brands support shelters and pets in need through in-kind and financial donations. Each year, Mars Pet Nutrition brands, including PEDIGREE and ROYAL CANIN, donate millions of meals to shelter pets in need. PEDIGREE Foundation, an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit established by Mars Petcare in 2008, has given more than $10 million in grants to shelters and rescues across the country since its inception. This year, PEDIGREE Foundation expanded its program efforts for the first time beyond the U.S. with the launch of PEDIGREE Foundation’s Canadian Grant Program distributing $100,000 in grants to shelters across Canada. PEDIGREE Foundation will also announce its annual round of U.S. grant recipients before the end of the year.

In 2022 alone, the charitable arms of Mars Veterinary Health — Banfield Foundation and VCA Charities — have provided more than $3.2 million in grants to animal welfare organizations to help address the need for veterinary care, shelter transports and adoption readiness; VCA Charities provided 650,000 meals to pets in need; and collectively the two have supported veterinary care for more than 2,000 pets transported out of at-capacity shelters and into loving homes. The Bow Wow Buddies Foundation is Camp Bow Wow’s 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides veterinary care grants to dogs. So far in 2022, the Bow Wow Buddies Foundation has granted nearly $100,000 to 95 sick and injured dogs in need.

To build on the company’s in-kind and financial support, through the Service Humans Needed program, Mars has called on the support of associates spanning its North America businesses, including Mars Petcare, Mars Food, Mars Wrigley, Mars Edge, Mars Veterinary Health and Camp Bow Wow by:

  • Encouraging 500,000 hours of Associate volunteer support at local shelters by fostering, adopting or volunteering their time through the end of the year.
  • Lending some of the company’s biggest pet brands’ social platforms, including PEDIGREE and Camp Bow Wow, to broaden awareness for pet and shelter needs.
  • Providing ongoing disaster relief support from Banfield Foundation, PEDIGREE Foundation and VCA Charities.

Hosting its Biggest Adoption Event Ever in 6 U.S. Cities

To further encourage pet advocates to “volunteer their homes,” Mars Petcare is expanding its 14th annual BETTER CITIES FOR PETS Adoption Weekend this year, making it the company’s biggest adoption event yet. Mars Petcare, PEDIGREE Foundation, VCA Charities and Camp Bow Wow will cover adoption fees for dogs and cats, up to $110,000, in six of Mars’ hometown cities across the U.S. starting Friday, October 21 through Sunday, October 23:

  • Denver, Colorado (home of Camp Bow Wow)
  • Los Angeles, California (home of VCA Animal Hospitals)
  • Nashville, Tennessee (home of Mars Pet Nutrition North America)
  • Newark, New Jersey (home of Mars Wrigley North America)
  • Vancouver, Washington (home of Banfield Pet Hospital)
  • Washington, D.C. (home of Mars Inc. Global Headquarters)

Each adopted pet will go home with a robust starter kit including products like: PEDIGREE dog food, IAMS cat food, ROYAL CANIN cat food, DENTASTIX dog treats, TEMPTATIONS cat treats, a free first office visit coupon from Banfield Pet Hospital, along with coupons and swag from Camp Bow Wow, VCA Animal Hospitals, WISDOM PANEL DNA Test, PEDIGREE Foundation and the BETTER CITIES FOR PETS program. Each adopted dog will also go home with a WHISTLE health tracking device with a free 12-month subscription. WHISTLE smart devices use industry-leading AI to translate a dog’s behavior into in-depth health insights.

To learn more about how to answer the call through acts of service and volunteering, click here.


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