The economic situation has worsened for many Americans, contributing to a growing need for more petfood banks in order to keep up with demands for petfood from struggling pet owners, says an article from USA Today.
The number of animals at shelters and rescues has escalated along with euthanasia rates, while rescue groups struggle to take in and feed the many animals being relinquished. As a result, more pet pantries are emerging and shelters are working to temporarily provide free food to pet owners in financial need who would otherwise be forced to give up their pet. The need for petfood is so great that even some human food pantries are stocking petfood.
Petfood pantry owners, like Ann King of Save Our Pets Food Bank, in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, are working more to get petfood donations and distribute those to pet owners who need it most.
"Many people out there imagine the pet crisis has passed," King says. "It most certainly has not. It was dire before, and it has gotten worse."
King is also part of an alliance, Rescue Bank, that was formed to give other petfood bank owners a chance to come together and strategize ways to get more food, primarily from petfood manufacturers who regularly throw out soon-to-expire or rebranded food. Rescue Bank has already set up 25 distribution partners in several states to allow the group to get the petfood to more places, more frequently, and the group is working toward a goal of 100 partners in the next two years.
In five months, more than 500 non-profit animal welfare and social service agencies have received petfood, and King predicts as many as 750 will receive food and supplies by the end of the year.
New shelter data casts doubt on whether the pet population and pet ownership are truly growing.
While the pandemic caused unprecedented suffering worldwide in 2020, the disruptions to dogs, cats and other pets adoption numbers may normalize in 2021.