Humane Ohio, a non-profit spay and neuter clinic with low rates, is seeking donations for a pet food bank it established last year for pet owners struggling to make ends meet.
Jill Borkowski, marketing manager for Humane Ohio, said the group is grateful to all the businesses and individuals who have donated money and/or dog and cat food. The group oftentimes thanks donors in public, which can give the mistaken impression that the food bank is fully stocked at all times.
“I’m afraid it gives people the impression that we’re getting so much support that we don’t need any more. I want people to understand that as quickly as it comes in, it goes out,” she said. “A church or business may have collected 500 lbs. of pet food for us, which is awesome, but we’ve given out as much as 7,000 lbs. some months,” said Borkowski.
The food bank provides food for up to two animals, or for free-roaming cats, per household once per month.
“If a person has more than two pets, they can choose which pets they want food for each month. For example, they can choose food for two dogs one month, and food for one dog and one cat the following month. They can only get food for owned pets or free-roaming cats, not both,” she said.
There have been some months where pet owners have been turned away because the food bank is empty, she said.
“We would like to increase the number of pets per household that we provide food to, but we really need to increase our food supply in order to do that,” said Borkowski. “We used to give food for up to three pets but had to cut back so that we could serve more households and try to prevent turning anyone away.”
No donation is too small, said Borkowski.
“We have some clients who donate $1 per month. That may seem so trivial to some people. But we are serving about 200 households per month. And if we collect $1 from all of them, that’s $200 we can use to go and buy some food. So those dollars that seem so little really do add up. I think it’s a really wonderful example of how just a very small gesture makes a very big difference,” she said.
There are no low income requirements to participate in the program, she said. Rather, it is based on need.
The only requirement to use the program is that pets have to be spayed or neutered. There are exemptions for pets that are too sick or old to be fixed, she said.
“There was a lot of debate about that at first. Humane Ohio’s mission is to reduce pet overpopulation,” said Borkowski. “So we kept saying that the program has to tie into our mission. We always felt strongly that the spay/neuter should be a requirement of the pet food bank. But we were also concerned that if people can’t afford to buy food for their pets, they won’t be able to afford to get their pets spayed or neutered,” she said.
The group, which spay/neuters about 14,000 dogs and cats per year in seven counties in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan, has grant monies to help people get their pets fixed.
Current spay/neuter rates at Humane Ohio are:
• $45 for an owned cat;
• $25 for a stray/feral/barn cat (free to those living in the 43609 zip code)
• $65 for a dog under 70 lbs.
• $75 for a dog 70 lbs. and over.
Spay/neuter prices for those on federal assistance are:
• $25 for an owned cat;
• $50 for a dog under 70 lbs.
• $60 for a dog 70 lbs. and over.
“We encourage everyone to call us even if they think they can’t afford it because, as a non-profit organization, we sometimes have private donations or grant money available that we can use to offer further financial assistance,” said Borkowski.
Those interested in using the food bank can apply online at www.humaneohio.org.
Dry and wet dog and cat food can be dropped off at Humane Ohio during clinic hours Monday – Friday, from 7:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., 3131 Tremainsville, or in pet food collection bins at Pet Supplies “Plus” stores, and Petco on Monroe Street, and Petco in Holland.
Food can also be dropped off at Walgreens at Wheeling and Navarre in Oregon, Walgreens in Perrysburg on Fremont Pike, Walgreens at Central and McCord, Walgreens at Secor at Alexis, Walt Churchills Market in Maumee, Rover Come Over, Squeaker’s, Tractor Supply Company, and Mid-Wood in Bowling Green, Walgreens in Lambertville Michigan, Walgreens Frenchtown in Monroe, Michigan, Do-it-Best Hardware Store on Secor in Lambertville, and Foodtown in Lambertville.