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Food Pantry for Pets now comes to Buffalo!

Low-income residents can now go to the Pet Food Pantry in Buffalo and and keep their animals fed and out of the local shelters!

Buffalo CAN, a not-for-profit organization, provides free dog or cat food via a pet food pantry, located at 37 Chandler St. They operate 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. on Mondays, starting January 12. Interested customers are advised to call Kathy Hogan, president, at 983-0583 or 836-0925 before stopping by the Chandler Street Operation. The food pantry requires documentation that individuals are low income, such as Food Stamp cards. Food items are for pets such as: dogs, cats, birds and hamsters.

The pantry is currently accepting pet food donations from local businesses in an effort to not run out of food for those in need. If you'd like to donate food to this cause, please contact Kathy at the number above. Thanks for your support!

We are going to copy and paste the article from the Buffalo News below, in hopes that it will shed some empathy on the situation and those in need. These are very difficult economic times. It is nice to see that someone, such as Kathy, would take it upon herself, to donate all those hours (without pay) away from her family, to give to complete strangers so that they wouldn't have to give up their furry friends while they get back on their feet. I certainly hope I never need her assistance, but if I did, it's nice to know that there are people in this world like her who still care. Kudos Kathy!!!!


Pantry will help feed Fido, (from the Buffalo News)

Strapped pet owners are offered free kibble

The sagging economy is placing a burden not just on people, but on pets.

In a sign of the recessionary times, a pet food pantry is being started in Buffalo to help low-income residents keep their animals fed and out of shelters. It is one of a growing number of pet food banks cropping up around the nation, as layoffs and cutbacks put a financial squeeze on more Americans. “A lot of people are in a situation where they’re just trying to feed their families. It’s scary,” said Kathy Hogan, president of the Buffalo Companion Animal Network and coordinator of the pet food bank program.

The small, not-for-profit organization, known as Buffalo CAN, already operates a handful of animal rescue programs, including AniMeals, which provides free dog or cat food to many disabled or housebound Meals on Wheels recipients.

The new pet food pantry, located at 37 Chandler St., was established after Hogan visited homes recently as part of a program that assists pet owners with veterinary bills. In one house, she saw dog food bowls filled with moldy bread. In a second home, she saw a cat being fed lettuce. In still one other, she saw animals left nothing to eat except water mixed with a tablespoon of rice.

“I was so rattled that I went to Wegmans, bought pet food and dropped it off at the houses. Then I went home and told my son we had to do something,” said Hogan, who has been rescuing animals since childhood.

Her son, Henry Sontag, is a professional dog groomer who operates Kennel Club Grooming, a North Buffalo business that has been in the family for 22 years. He also is deeply involved in community volunteer efforts to help animals. The two of them, along with Rosanne Higgins, also an active Buffalo CAN volunteer, started putting together a plan to provide temporary food assistance to anyone facing financial difficulties.

“We have pantries for people. Why not pets?” Hogan said. “Our shelters are full of animals. In some cases, people are dropping them off because they just can’t afford to feed them.”

They plan to open the pantry modestly at first in order to gauge demand, operating from 11 a. m. to 2 p. m. Mondays, starting Jan. 12. Interested customers are advised to call Hogan at 983-0583 or 836-0925 before stopping by the Chandler Street operation. The food pantry requires documentation that individuals are low income, such as Food Stamp cards.

Hogan already has stocked 2,000 pounds of pet food, including food for animals such as birds and hamsters. All of the food was donated by the SPCA, Buffalo Animal Shelter, customers of Kennel Club Grooming and friends. Hogan will attempt to give people enough food to last two to three months, and is hopeful more people and businesses will donate. “We’ll see how it goes, but I am worried that I’ll run out. I don’t want to turn away anyone,” Hogan said.

The pantry’s official opening is a few weeks away, but it is already helping a handful of people who Hogan knows need assistance.

Joanne Batugowski, for instance, is a Kennel Club Grooming customer who received a 35- pound bag of dog food for her mutt, Honey, whom she adopted from the SPCA. Batugowski, a licensed practical nurse, has been out of work since April. She has used the time to return to school to become a registered nurse, but her finances remain uncomfortably tight. “The pet food has been really helpful to me. It’s a great idea, and I’m interested in helping them in any way I can,” she said.

Pet food pantries and other financial-assistance programs for animals are opening across the country. The Humane Society of the United States offers a list by state of all types of helpful organizations for pet owners on its Web site, , in the pets and pet care section. Save Our Pets Food Bank formed recently in Atlanta after its organizer heard on the news that residents were abandoning pets because they could no longer afford pet food. The group is compiling a list of pet food banks in the United States on its Web site, . It also offers tips on how to start a pet food bank.

In Buffalo, the Buffalo CAN pet food pantry joins another recent effort to provide assistance to pet owners and reduce the millions of homeless animals euthanized every year. Operation PETS, based in Blasdell, is a not-for-profit organization that will spay or neuter dogs, cats and rabbits at significantly reduced prices. For information or an appointment, call 783-8998.

It’s difficult to determine if there is an increase in pet surrenders to animal shelters because of difficulty affording food because animals arrive without detailed information about their backgrounds. “You rarely know exactly why someone brings an animal to a shelter. People tell you what they want you to hear, or they say they just found the animal as a stray,” said Kelly McCartney, director of the Buffalo Animal Shelter.

She said financial hardship has not been a “major red flag,” but she’s also noticed an unusual slowdown in adoptions this holiday season and, perhaps, an increase in animals being surrendered. “It’s the economy,” said McCartney, who has donated kibble to the new pet food pantry. “People can’t afford to feed their children, let alone their animals.”

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