ARLINGTON, Va. (WDVM) — Many Northern Virginia residents are struggling to pay rent, buy groceries, and also cover family and pet expenses.

The Animal Welfare League of Arlington is pushing for legislators to extend Governor Northam’s original eviction deadline of September 7, to prevent animals from being surrendered by people who can’t afford them.

AWLA says they’re here to help tenants during these trying times and also urge landlords to cut back on animal restrictions and limitations.

The AWLA reports that 82 percent of rental tenants with animals reported having trouble finding a rental unit that would accept their pets.

“One of the most common reasons for animal relinquishment at AWLA is housing or landlord issues. We know the COVID-19 pandemic is going to exacerbate this problem and we urge legislators, landlords, and community members to help us keep pets and families together during this time” said Sam Wolbert, CEO and President of AWLA.

The AWLA says landlords can help renters bring their pets home by eliminating breed and size restrictions and also lowering pet fee costs.

AWLA is offering several resources to help Arlington pet owners. Their Pet Pantry is open daily, providing necessities for Arlington residents who need help taking care of their pets.

“The pet pantry is available to anyone who needs it. You just come over get what you need and take it home with you. We have food, we have supplies, we have flea and tick medication, toys, you know anything you might need.”

Chelsea Jones, Communications Specialist for AWLA

Jones says AWLA is always ready to help residents in anyway they can.

“If you are in a position where you are having a little bit of trouble maybe paying your rent, we can definitely help with you at least not having to worry about your pet food and your pet supplies for the next couple of months” said Jones.

More resources available to Arlington pet owners can be found here.