Franklin County residents who are facing hard times and can’t afford to feed their pet have somewhere to turn, thanks to the Community Pet Food Pantry.

The Franklin County Dog Shelter & Adoption Center, 4340 Tamarack Blvd. in Columbus, offers the pantry to pet owners who are experiencing temporary financial difficulty, said Andrew Kohn, the shelter’s community-relations manager.

“The Community Pet Food Pantry was started at the shelter because we saw people looking to surrender their dogs because they couldn’t afford to feed them,” said Kaye Persinger, shelter director. “Our pet pantry helps dogs stay in their homes and keeps families together who may be experiencing financial hardship.”

She said no one should have to surrender a family member because they can’t afford to feed them.

Kohn said the cost of feeding a dog, for example, can vary. A 33-pound bag of Pedigree dog food on Amazon is $22, while a 28-pound of Taste of the Wild is $49, he said. And this doesn’t include treats, which usually range about $10 per bag, he said.

The cost for a month is dependent on the size and number of dogs a family would have, so it would be hard to give a range, he said, but the owner of a single medium-breed dog should be prepared to spend at least $50 on food and treats per month.

Cost also would vary based on whether a pet was fed wet and/or dry food.

The same would be true for cats, with spending around $50 a month, Kohn said. They might not eat as much, but they require litter, he said.

Kohn said the pantry began around 2016.

A resident of Franklin County only needs to come to the shelter and ask for food, he said. No explanations are needed, he said.

Kohn said the Community Pet Food Pantry is 100% supported by public donations.

“The pantry is accessed multiple times each day,” he said. “We have both dog and cat food, including litter. We also have dog toys.”

From Jan. 1 through Aug. 23, 559 people had used the pantry, Kohn said.

In July alone, the number of visitors was 69, he said.

Kohn said people my donate by dropping off food off at the shelter, accessing the shelter’s Amazon wish list at ow.ly/nTqZ50vvxdb or running donation drives at their places of employment and making arrangements with the shelter for pickup.

“We honor our generous community who continually answers our requests to replenish our supplies,” Persinger said. “Your food donations help keep dogs in their loving homes and allow owners who are struggling to keep their families together.”

For more information, go to http://dogs.franklincountyohio.gov or call 614-525-3647.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla