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Non-profit works to provide foster homes for displaced animals

Paws Between Homes has seen a 600% increase in pet owners asking for help since the eviction moratorium ended.

ATLANTA — Atlanta has seen a 35% spike in evictions since the CDC eviction moratorium ended in August.

A local non-profit that places pets in temporary foster homes said calls for help have gone from about six or seven a week to six or seven a day.

Paws Between Homes places pets in foster homes for up to 90 days. The non-profit has seen calls for help go up by 600% since the eviction mortarium ended. 

“We are a safety net for the pets of people who lose their housing through eviction or really any other means," said Cole Thaler, the non-profit's board president and founder.

That experience happened to Steven Spurlock and his cat, Bellamy.

For Spurlock, his feline friend is more than just a cat.

“He loves to be cuddled. I kind of hold him like a baby," Spurlock said. "He loves the affection. He's a very affectionate cat, and it really gives me that parenthood feeling.”

However, that bond was almost broken when Spurlock couldn't take Bellamy into his temporary home. 

“Once I started actually going through the process of trying to place him, it kind of hurt. It really did and more than I thought it would," Spurlock said.

That's when Paws Between Homes stepped in.

“What we see happening is landlords flocking to the courthouse to file evictions against Fulton County tenants and really all over Georgia who have fallen behind on their rent," Thaler explained. “What that means is that we are at the brink of a terrible housing crisis. We are going to see people displaced in metro Atlanta at rates, unlike anything we've seen before.”

Not every pet owner looking for help can be helped with the influx of calls.

"In Atlanta, there's no homeless shelter that takes pets, so what people often have to do in those situations is surrender their pet to the shelter, which is a permanent thing," Thaler said.

Paws Between Homes started ‘Home for the Holidays.’ It’s an end-of-the year campaign to raise money and get more pets into foster homes.

The non-profit hopes to have more reunions like Spurlock and Bellamy's with your help.

“We cover all costs," Thaler said. "All that a foster home needs to be willing to do is to take a pet into their home and give it affection, attention, love, while the pet owner is getting back on their feet.”

As for Spurlock, he is training to become a trucker and plans to bring his constant companion on the road. 

“I look forward to getting on the road, and I'm thinking about making a YouTube channel for me and him [Bellamy] called ‘The Adventures of Steve and Bell,'" Spurlock said. 

You can find more information on becoming a pet foster parent or putting your pet into one at Paws Between Homes' Facebook page, Instagram page, or website.

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