Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Humane Association seeks donations for pet food

By Natalia Mielczarek • The Tennessean • February 10, 2009 The Nashville Humane Association is looking for donations to support its ongoing pet food bank that benefits struggling families. The service kicked off several weeks ago to accommodate folks who face surrendering their pets because they can’t afford to feed them. So far, close to 40 families have sought help, association officials said. Among them, Gary Mendenhall, who has three cats and two dogs.“I’d hate to think what would happen to them if I didn’t have help from this program; they’re kind of like my kids so I’ve got to take care of them,” said Mendenhall, who lives in West Nashville.“I’m in between work so I have no money coming in yet. St. Luke’s Community House (charity) helps me with my needs, but I also sometimes go to the humane association and ask for some help. ”The Nashville Humane Association and other shelters in the city and across the country have experienced a sharp increase in abandoned animals due to the economic downturn. Last June, city-run Metro Animal Care and Control saw a record number of owner-surrendered pets. That number was, for the first time, higher than the number of stray dogs and cats found or dropped off. The statistic motivated Kristin Milner, owner of Lucky Pup Boutique & Bath, to organize a donation drive earlier this month to benefit the humane association. “That number was such a huge reflection of the tough times that people are experiencing and the choices they’re having to make when it comes down to money,” she said.“It sounds as through animals aren’t winning out in this situation. This program is going to keep the pets out of shelters.” The pet food bank is available only to residents of Davidson County. Applicants’ income level, employment situation and whether they rely on government assistance are among the factors that determine eligibility, said Lisa Reeves with the Nashville Humane Association. “For some people, it was a choice of feeding their families or feeding their pets, especially in this rough economic situation,” she said. “There are certain instances where people may have suddenly lost their job, they have no income, and that’s where we can help.”But, Reeves said, the food bank isn’t a permanent solution.“It’s just a temporary fix to help people get through the rough patch and keep their pets at home,” she said. “That’s our ultimate goal.”

1 comment:

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