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Coronavirus: Albertans unable to afford food for animals are getting much-needed support

Albertans unable to afford food for animals amid COVID-19 are getting much-needed support
WATCH: As out-of-work Albertans struggle to get by due to COVID-19, many are finding themselves unable to buy food for their pets. To ensure animals are humanely taken care of during the pandemic, the Alberta SPCA and other rescues are providing food and support. Chris Chacon has more.

As many Albertans try to bear the financial brunt of COVID-19, those who own livestock or household pets are finding it challenging to pay for the additional costs of ownership.

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“We know if people are suffering, animals are suffering, and with the COVID-19 situation, if people are suffering, we know that we would see their animals suffering fairly quickly. We also recognized that the shelters wouldn’t be able to take in a lot of animals from owners who can no longer afford to care for their animals,” said Dan Kobe, communications manager with Alberta SPCA, on Saturday.

To ensure that animals don’t starve, the Alberta SPCA is offering support.

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“Our goal with the Help for Animals program has been to ensure that we can help people keep their animals on their property while providing feed-in-place services,” Kobe said.

That includes arranged feeds for livestock and household pets.

In two weeks, Alberta SPCA has helped 64 people, providing more than 100 bags of cat and dog food.

“Today, we have hay being delivered to someone in northern Alberta in Peerless Lake — 120 small bales of hay that will get him and his horses through for the next month until his pastures open up,” Kobe said.

The program is only available in smaller cities and towns in rural Alberta. It excludes large centres such as Calgary and Edmonton but there are several groups that are filling that gap.

“There [are] lots of places handing out if anyone needs help; we [don’t have] a surplus but we have food that we can help people with if they need,” said Tessa Lee, president of Whitecourt Homeless Animal Rescue Foundation.
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“Every single one of us will try and step up [to] help,” said Kath Olsher, co-founder of Zoe’s Animal Rescue.

“You could probably talk to any animal rescue and we’ll do our best.”

Several not-for-profit rescues depend on food and monetary donations and welcome the help in these times.

As for those ultimately needing to surrender their pets, room is limited at some rescues but they are doing their best to give all animals a home.