Too many people are facing the gruesome decision: feed the kids, or feed the family cat?
In Oklahoma City, Ben Brown, a volunteer with the Oklahoma City Animal Shelter, hopes no local families will have to make that choice. He’s leading a project to create a pet food bank.
Just like traditional food banks, the cornerstone of the project is donated food and it will serve those who can’t afford to buy pet food on their own.
“The shelter gets two or three calls a day from people asking where they can get some help, Brown said. “There are senior citizens and disabled people who are on a limited income. There are families who have pets, and the husband lost his job, and now they are trying to take care of pets just on one salary, and theyre struggling.
The food bank project is part of a larger effort to reduce the number of adoptable animals euthanized at metro-area animal shelters.
Christy Counts, president of the Central Oklahoma Humane Society and vice president of the Metro Alliance for Animal Life, said there are low-cost spay/neuter programs to help low-income families, but there was no way to help struggling pet owners feed their animals.
“Our No. 1 priority is keeping pets out of the shelter, Counts said. “We certainly want to counteract anyone who might be turning their pets into the shelter because they cant afford to feed them.
Donors can drop food at the Oklahoma City Animal Shelter, the Bethany Animal Shelter and the Weed and Seed Community Centers. Addtional donation barrels will be placed at local businesses.
Brown said hes already responding to requests for help, and he encouraged those who truly need assistance to call.
No one wants to see pets become a casualty of the recession, he said.
“We think this idea will grow, Brown said. “Its one more arrow in the quiver of an effort to eliminate the need to euthanize pets.