MONEY MATERS: Some animal owners in need of pet food - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

MONEY MATERS: Some animal owners in need of pet food

Dubuque (KWWL) -- With tough economic times, many of us worry about rising food prices at the grocery store. But for pet owners, budgeting dog or cat food is also a concern.

Nearly 5,400 animals have come into the Dubuque Humane Society this year. As of Tuesday, that's about 300 more than last year. Just this month, more than 150 pet owners in Dubuque couldn't keep their animals.

"In this last month, we've seen 329 come in, and half of those were from owners who said, you know, they were moving, they couldn't afford them anymore, so those are the reasons they're giving," Jane McCall, the president and CEO of the Dubuque Humane Society said.

Vet appointments, food, and other pet necessities get pretty expensive, and some owners can't cover the cost.

"It costs about $1000 a year for a cat, about $1,400 a year for a dog, so that's an expense that if you lose your job, or everything else is going up, some people feel they have to cut that," McCall said.

The Humane Society gets dry food donated from one company, so to help some pet owners, they give extra donated food to Project Concern and the Dubuque Food Pantry.

"Usually the people that are coming in for their regular food orders, then if they want a bag, they can take it, and it goes quite quickly. I guess a lot of people have pets, so we don't have a problem getting rid of it," Sister Lynn Wagner said.

Humane Society executives say donating spare food can actually cut down on the number of abandoned pets that end up at the shelter.

"We feel it's important that people be able to keep their pets in their home, and we don't want them to have a financial reason that they have to bring them into us. So, whatever we can do to help out, we try to do," McCall said.

Right now, the food pantry doesn't have any pet food, but Sister Lynn says donations would be welcome. Project Concern in Dubuque does have some food from the Humane Society in stock. In Dubuque, you can call 2-1-1 if you're interested.

Also, pet owners can go to the Johnson County Humane Society, or Iowa City Animal Shelter. In the Waterloo area, when the Cedar Bend Humane Society has a surplus of food, they also give food to owners in need.

Online Reporter:  Jamie Grey

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