Animal charity reports record numbers turning to its pet food banks
AN ANIMAL charity is urgently calling for pet food donations as record numbers of pet owners are facing the prospect of having to surrender their pets.
The Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home provides meals for almost 4000 pets every month through a network of 90 food banks across East and Central Scotland.
In comparison to last year, the charity has observed an increase of 70%.
According to spokesperson Derek Stewart-Brown, the organisation launched its pet food bank service in late 2019, “because we discovered people were actually going to food banks for human food and sharing that food with their pets. That is obviously not how it should happen”.
Derek told The National: “Figures are up dramatically. People wouldn’t be coming to us or going to [human] food banks if it wasn’t down to the financial crisis.”
The charity has received a record number of phone calls from pet owners seeking advice on surrendering their pets, with the majority blaming financial reasons.
The Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home says it received more than 100 of such calls in March – the highest number over the past six months.
Referring to the issue as “pet poverty”, the group is particularly concerned about pet owners who are struggling to make ends meet during the cost of living crisis.
The Home ensures a non-judgemental approach to supporting pet owners at all times.
Its website reads: “We don’t think a change in financial circumstances should mean you can’t keep a pet. In fact, in these situations, pets are often a much-needed source of comfort, stability, and security.”
In a similar concept to food parcels for humans, the organisation also provides “paws and claws packs”, which include food, treats, collars, bedding, and other pet essentials.
With the aim of providing direct support to pet owners facing hardship, the recent demand for “paws and claws packs” has almost doubled.
The Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home said: “Our mantra is we want to keep pets in loving and caring homes. We don’t want to see them at our home. We want them to stay at their home and our aim is to help by providing food and equipment.”
Due to the consistently high demand for pet food, the Home is appealing for urgent donations of wet and dry cat food and bags of dry food for dogs.
Founded in 1883, the organisation aims to affect meaningful change in animal welfare across Scotland through education, fundraisers, as well as community and political work.
For food bank details and how to donate, visit: https://edch.org.uk/