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MI Pet Food Pantry Demand Rises

October 31, 2011

ST. CLAIR, Mich. - The lines are long and the demand is great at food pantries across Michigan, but humans are not the only ones in need. A growing number of pet food pantries collect and distribute kibble, treats and pet litter to families who struggle to feed their four-legged members.

Sharon Gorski is the executive director of K9Resque (canine rescue), a volunteer organization in St. Clair. She added a pet food pantry in 2007.

"One of the main reasons these days for animals to be dumped is because families can no longer afford them, so if you help them with pet food, then the animals don't go into shelters and it's not overpopulating their regular clientele."

Last year K9Resque took in more than 4,000 pounds of food, which helped feed nearly 300 animals living in qualified low-income families. The organization also helps veterans with disabilities care for their pets, and it is a collection site for a national program called "Pets of the Homeless."

It is incumbent upon humans to step up and help, Gorski says, since animals do not choose their owners or their circumstances.

"There's nothing out there for pets. You don't get food stamps, you don't get Medicaid, you don't get that kind of stuff for your pets. Pet food pantries out there help a whole lot."

It's estimated that of the nation's 3.5 million homeless, 10 percent have at least one pet.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MI