ATLANTA (AP) — A nationwide program is providing aid to pet owners in low-income neighborhoods to reduce the number of animals sent to shelters.

The Pets for Life programs provide free or low-cost animal medical services, supplies and food to clients in at least 27 locations, including Atlanta.

The Humane Society United States originally launched the program in 2010. It arrived in Atlanta in 2012 and has been run by Atlanta's LifeLine Animal Project since 2017.

Animal welfare advocates say many pet owners give up their dogs and cats to shelters because they can no longer afford to care for them.

The Shelters Animal Count database estimates those animals represent about 25% of shelter populations. Strays make up the majority.

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