MUNCIE – Pet owners struggling to make ends meet now have a place to turn for help for their four-legged friends.
Action for Animals, an advocacy group that offers foster care to stray cats and dogs, has opened a pet food pantry in Muncie to help people feed their animals and keep them in their homes.
The Star Press reported that the pantry is a new chapter in the groups work. Action for Animals has long received donated pet food from manufacturers through its umbrella network, Rescue Bank, but those items had been distributed only to animal rescue agencies, humane societies and animal shelters across the state.
Group President Teresa Sparks said the number of calls from people seeking help to feed their pets has risen to an average of 25 calls a week in recent years.
Those who visit the pantry will receive food based on the number of pets. The pantry also plans to stock cat litter.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals estimates between 500,000 and 1 million pets in the U.S. have been on the verge of becoming homeless since the recent recession began.
We know people dont want to give up their pets, so were hoping this can help keep their loved ones in their homes, Sparks said.
Michelle Welder owns six cats, five of whom she got as strays. She said she receives unemployment benefits and food stamps and sometimes struggles to feed her pets, but she cant think of parting with them.
Theyre my babies. Times have been hard, and they offer me so much comfort and support. I dont mind standing out here for them. They need food, too, Welder said.