After obtaining a non-profit organization status, putting in several hours of fundraising, completing paperwork and preparing and stocking its building, The Pet Pantry will now be ready with open doors to assist needy pet owners in Chautauqua County in caring for their animals.
Pet Pantry Operator Julia McFarland has announced that doors will open at 515 Central Ave., Dunkirk on Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon. Pet Pantry volunteers will be on hand to help residents from as far away as Jamestown to determine their needs, their financial situation, and the amount of help that can be offered in the way of pet food, bedding, and other supplies.
After moving into the Iglesia Getsemani church building on Central Avenue, the Pet Pantry is fully stocked, but "donations are still greatly needed," added McFarland. She noted that cat food will be a specific need, and she is willing to accept any cat food donations in the form of unopened bags or cans that donors are willing to give.
OBSERVER Photo by Ann Belcher
Judy Morris, Linda Zielinski and Julia McFarland will be ready to take applications on Feb. 6 at 515 Central Ave. for area residents who need help feeding their pets. For more information, stop at the Pet Pantry during regular hours, or contact Julia at 785-5183.
"Either food and supplies, or monetary donations, can be made at The Pet Pantry during regular hours," stated McFarland.
Preliminary hours will be Tuesday and Thursday, from 6-8 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon.
McFarland noted that as more applicants take part in the services offered, hours may increase based on the needs of the public.
She reminds anyone of any financial status that in order to register for assistance, the following will be required: photo identification of the pet owner; a current dog license for any dog owners needing food; a current rabies vaccine certificate for any cat owners requesting food; and proof of income, in the form of either pay stubs, Benefit award letters or Benefit cards, statements of earnings, or any other tangible proof of income.
The Pet Pantry will not assume 100 percent of the care for pets, McFarland stated. "We're helping to feed animals, we're not going to feed 100 percent of the time," she added.
"If we have an adequate surplus, owners will be able to get more," she stated. Volunteers will be assisting owners on a case-by-case basis to review their financial needs, the type of pets that are in the home requiring care, and what type of feeding instructions are appropriate for the animals.
"Even if you don't think you qualify for our help," she added.
"Stop in anyways and talk to one of our volunteers. If you're in trouble financially, and it's effecting how you are able to care for your pet, stop in and walk to one of us, and we'll see what we can do," she concluded.
McFarland added that many times, financial difficulties suffered by pet owners are beyond their reasonable control.
"Most circumstances are beyond their control, and we're here to help, not judge," stated McFarland.
"We want animals to stay in their loving homes, and stay safe," she added.
Part of their assistance program involves carefully deciding on a feeding plan for each animal, in order for the food to be able to last until the next pick up date, and ensure that the animal is not being overfed.
"Most animals are fed too much," she added.
"We will have feeding instruction cards for each pet that will state how much the animal should be fed," she noted.
"'Free feeding,' or keeping the pet's dish filled continuously, is not good, especially for dogs," she stated.
"Cats' digestive systems and metabolisms are able to handle it better, but having a dog overweight can cause hip, leg, knee and joint problems, liver and kidney functioning problems and Diabetes," she noted.
Volunteers will customize the instruction cards to the size and weight class of the breed as to how much the animal should be getting per day.
She reminds everyone that an application is required and that only the registered pet owner may come in for pick up of any supplies.
The Pet Pantry will be hosting a fundraising Chiavetta's Chicken Barbecue on May 23, which will be open to the public.
For more information, contact McFarland directly at 785-5183.