Humane Society International/Canada and Friends of HSI help over 11,000 companion animals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 Animal Response Program has delivered over 75,000 kg of pet food to those most in need

Friends of Humane Society International

MONTREAL & TORONTO (Dec. 29, 2020) – As COVID-19 continues to directly impact peoples’ lives, Humane Society International/Canada and Friends of HSI have teamed up with over 40 community groups, charities and foundations including: the Eric S. Margolis Family Foundation, PetSmart Charities of Canada, the Salvation Army, Fred Victor, Toronto Community Housing, Chiots Nordiques and the Emmanuelle Gattuso Foundation to provide emergency help to companion animals in Canada through our innovative COVID-19 Animal Response program launched in April.

The program provides critical assistance to those who are in urgent need of help caring for their animals as a result of the pandemic, both in Montreal and Toronto as well as in remote First Nations communities. Over the coming three months, support from the Canadian Red Cross and the Government of Canada will allow this program to expand in Ontario.

Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of HSI/Canada, stated: “This has been a challenging and difficult year for both people and the animals who depend on them. Our Animal Response team has been working tirelessly to help people who are struggling to provide for their animals and who have nowhere else to look for help. We have witnessed firsthand, through our presence in the community and by meeting animal caregivers from all walks of life, how devastating the impacts of this crisis have been on people and their companion animals. Animals hold a special place in the lives of people, and we are so grateful to be able to help keep dogs and cats with their families throughout this pandemic.”

HSI/Canada and Friends of HSI’s COVID-19 Animal Response program is currently the only emergency program for animals operating nationally and has provided the following services to date:

  • Provisions of over 75,000 kgs of companion animal food to individuals in need (those contending with reduced mobility, quarantine or lost income) through mobile pet food banks and dozens of central distribution sites in the GTA and the Greater Montreal area. HSI/Canada is working in partnership with food banks and community service organizations such as Salvation Army, Fred Victor, Mission Bon Accueil, Toronto Community Housing and many other incredible community groups to help provide these much needed resources during the pandemic.
  • Distribution of over 16,000 kgs of pet food to impacted First Nations communities that are even more severely isolated by lockdowns and quarantine, in partnership with Chiots Nordiques.
  • Emergency sheltering of dozens of animals to assist partner shelters with increasing demands as well as hospitalized individuals.
  • Transport and fostering of animals in need of urgent veterinary services.

John Tory, mayor of the City of Toronto, said through a letter to FHSI: “Thank you, again, for your generosity and for stepping up to help in the City’s efforts to fight COVID-19. Your generosity will help ensure that our city comes back from this emergency stronger than ever.”

Members of the Toronto – GTA public impacted by COVID-19 and in need of urgent assistance in caring for their companion animals are encouraged to reach out by email at:

While individuals with companion animals impacted by the pandemic in the Greater Montreal area could contact:

To arrange an interview, please call or email media contact below.


Toronto: Elana Trainoff, Community Liaison COVID-19 Animal Response program, Toronto: or 647-285-3575.

Montréal: Ewa Demianowicz, senior campaign manager, HSI/Canada: or 514-575-3499.

Humane Society International/Canada is a leading force for animal protection, with active programs in companion animals, wildlife and habitat protection, marine mammal preservation, farm animal welfare and animals in research. HSI/Canada is proud to be a part of Humane Society International which, together with its affiliates, constitutes one of the world’s largest animal protection organizations. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide and on the web at

Friends of HSI is a registered charitable organization working to protect animals through public education and awareness, rescue, sheltering, provision of veterinary services and other direct care programs. We are proud to be part of the Humane Society International family of global affiliates, which together comprise one of the largest and most effective animal protection groups in the world. For more information, visit our website at