By Emma Koeniger, SPCAI Staff
November is a month of celebration for all of us here at SPCA International because we distributed our 800th Operation Military Pets (OMP) grant this month. In 2013, SPCA International recognized that shelters around military bases in the U.S. and all over the world were experiencing high surrender rates. Upon further research we identified that many military families were forced to surrender their beloved furry family members when they were unable to afford the high costs of transporting them to their next duty station when receiving Permanent Change of Station orders. Starting in April of 2013 SPCA International gave its first OMP grant to a family with 2 dogs traveling from California to Germany and by the end of the year this new program had helped 121 families (39 cats, 161 dogs and 1 horse) stay together.
As word of this program spread, need grew and by 2015, SPCAI set a higher goal of distributing at least $15,000.00 in grants each month to military families in need of help with pet transportation costs. We have assisted families moving to South Korea, Australia, Bahrain, South Africa and Norway just to name a few. These 800 families have been comprised of 208 cats, 993 dogs, 1 bunny, 3 horses and 1 bird. SPCA International will continue to help even more amazing military families in the coming year!