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December 18, 2013

MHS looks for food donations to ‘Keep Families Together’

By Tiffany Esshaki
C & G Staff Writer

This holiday season, the Michigan Humane Society is hoping that caring animal lovers around metro Detroit will help them collect a sleigh full of food to donate to pets in need.

According to Ryan McTigue, public relations coordinator with MHS, the shelter is running low on stock in its free pet food bank, which serves low-income families year-round by providing supplemental meals for their animals at no charge. The bank, he said, makes it possible for families to keep their beloved pets, even when money gets tight.

“For families that are struggling and looking to keep their pet, this makes it possible for them to keep their pet instead of making the difficult choice of having to surrender their pet or let it go,” said McTigue.

More than 2,000 pet owners are signed up for the food bank program, but McTigue said that there are times when long lines of people are turned away at the shelter because there simply isn’t enough food to distribute. While animals housed at the shelter are fed with generous donations from the pet food company Purina, the food bank relies on contributions from the public.

That’s why, he said, MHS is asking for people to give what they can to the Keeping Families Together program. Donations of any type of food will be welcome at the society’s centers for animal care in Detroit, Rochester Hills and Westland during regular business hours, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Those gifts are especially important now that the cold temperatures are reaching extreme lows.

“This really goes hand in hand with cold weather, because some families do keep their animals outside. They do require more food this time of year to keep their body weight up and keep themselves healthy,” said McTigue. “They’re using all their energy trying to stay warm.”

Even when families are strapped for cash, it’s better for the animal, as well as the owner, to keep that pet in the home. After all, everyone needs a companion, especially when times are tough.

“Every day, many area pet owners depend on the Michigan Humane Society’s pet food bank to feed their dogs and cats,” said Debby MacDonald, MHS cruelty investigator and MHS Detroit facility director, in a prepared statement. “These are people like you and me who love their animals, but who may have fallen on hard times. Without programs like these, they’d be forced to give up their best friend.”

For more information, or to see if you qualify for the MHS free pet food bank, call (248) 283-1000 or visit www.michiganhumane.org.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Tiffany Esshaki at tesshaki@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1095.