Although the crowds may have been expecting a celebrity, local animal rescue shelters said they were happier with what did arrive in the parking lot of Pet Supplies Plus in the city’s south end: 40,000 pounds of dog and cat food.
“The money we’re not spending on the food, we’ll be able to spend on the vet bills,” said Melanie Wittner of A Hopeful Heart animal rescue in Roseville and St. Clair Shores. “We buy whatever’s on sale, whatever we can afford at the time.”
But with the donation of food from Halo, a pet food company co-owned by Ellen DeGeneres, Wittner said her animals will be on a consistent diet of good food, at least for awhile. Wittner said her rescue typically helps 200 dogs and 150 cats each year.
“My animals are going to eat well tonight,” she said.
Wittner’s rescue was just one of seven local rescues to benefit from the second annual Holiday Kibble Drop, a collaboration between DeGeneres and 16-year-old Mimi Ausland, the founder of Freekibble.com, which donates food to local rescues. The Kibble Drop truck stopped at Pet Supplies Plus on Greater Mack Dec. 6, when representatives from the Michigan Humane Society in Detroit, Michigan Animal Adoption Network of Roseville, Animal Rescue Fund of Centreville, Homeward Bound Rescue League of Canton, Last Chance Rescue of Howell, Hopeful Heart Rescue, and Guardians for Animals out of Troy arrived with trucks, vans and trailers to take home hundreds of bags of food.
Caroline Golon, a representative for Halo, said the partnership between DeGeneres and Ausland began a few years ago, when the talk show host heard about the Oregon girl’s efforts to help local animal shelters feed their pets. Ausland appeared on DeGeneres’s talk show and received $20,000 worth of food for her charity.
“It grew and grew,” Golon said. “We asked if we could become their official kibble sponsor.”
And that partnership blossomed into the Kibble Drop, which will make 14 stops across the country this holiday season, bringing food to benefit homeless animals.
Mike Loudenslager of the Animal Rescue Fund said the organization donates pet food to local food banks to help those in need feed their animals.
The 2,000 pounds of food his organization took home in their horse trailer will be a great help, he said.
“Makes that much less we have to earn,” he said. “We appreciate it.”
Brian Verkest, district team leader for Pet Supplies Plus, said this is the first time the store partnered with Halo to feed local animals. But he said the company was happy to do so because “there’s a lot of animals. People need help to feed them.”
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