The Animal Food Bank and BC SPCA branches in the Okanagan are raising a paw and asking for help.
“We have seen a huge increase in demand over the last three weeks; normally we were going through 100 to 150 pounds a week,” said Nicole Wilks, Animal Food Bank founder.
“Now we seem to be hovering around 500 pounds of dry food and about 100 cans of wet food a week, so quite an intensive increase.”
Due to measures put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, some pet stores have stopped allowing returns, meaning Wilks and her team have been unable to fill their storage bin with food, toys and cat litter because they rely on returns or products nearing expiration.
But they are still doing what they can to help.
“So many people would choose to feed their pets over themselves, so I am thankful that we can take not only some of the burden off of people food banks but also take the worry, too, from families about how they are going to feed their pets,” said Wilks.
The BC SPCA is also calling out for pet food donations and litter to keep animals with their families during the global pandemic.
“The SPCA wants to make sure that in this crisis time that families don’t have to make the difficult decision to re-home their pets because they are unable to financially afford them,” said Meranda Dussault, animal care supervisor at the BC SPCA Vernon Branch.
“So we want to make sure that we can help any family that is financially struggling to feed their pets at this time.”
The BC SPCA is predicting the demand will only rise.
“Provincewide, we have 36 locations across B.C., we are typically helping feed 10,000 families pets and with the crisis outbreak we don’t have numbers yet but, I would say, it’s going to come close to doubling,” said Dussault.