Demand spikes at pet food pantries as downturn hurts pets

Diana Bardsley wiped tears from her eyes as she recalled taking food off her plate to feed her spaniel Hunter and two Siamese cats.

Her greatest fear: that she could be forced to surrender the animals as she struggled to stretch her food stamps and Social Security income to meet the cost of living.

Some hope was restored after she visited a food pantry, which has started offering free pet food.

“I know a lot of people will probably say, well, if you don’t have enough money to be able to feed your animals, that you shouldn’t have pets,” said Bardsley, 53. But “just because financially you may go downhill a little or a lot doesn’t necessarily mean you have to give up the part of your family that you love.”

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