Oswego food pantry caters to pets when owners can’t

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Now this is a good idea.

Not that’s it’s entirely unique — I have read about programs like this that have been implemented elsewhere before.

Alexandra Bogdanovic
Founder/owner of In Brief Legal Writing Services, Alexandra Bogdanovic. Photo by N. Bogdanovic

But I’ve got to hand it to the city of Oswego, N.Y., for coming up with a program that promotes responsible pet ownership and gives pet owners — and their charges — help when it’s needed most.

As reported on syracuse.com, the city has opened a food pantry that will “supply food and other necessities for pets when owners fall on difficult financial times.”

What sets this pet pantry apart?

Like other “pet pantries” I’ve read about, Oswego’s will rely on donations in order to help struggling pet owners. What sets it apart, in my opinion, is that it won’t be open to everyone. In order to qualify for assistance, pet owners must meet certain criteria.

To be eligible, the animal’s owner “must license their pet, including spaying or neutering of the animals.” The stipulation”will help better control the population of dogs and cats within the city,” according to Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow.

A ‘win-win situation’ for Oswego residents and their pets

Oswego Animal Control Officer Caroline Anderson, who also spoke to the media, agreed.

“We receive calls every week from people who can no longer keep their pets due to financial hardship,” she said. “If we can help companion animals remain in their homes where they are loved while also battling animal overpopulation, it’s a win-win.”

She added that companion animals that have been spayed or neutered are less likely to be surrendered because they have behavioral issues. They are also less like to stray and tend to be less aggressive than animals who haven’t been spayed or neutered.

The city first came up with programs that encouraged residents to spay, neuter and license their pets in 2016. Prior to creating the initiative, the average number of dog licenses issued by the city was less than 300 per year. In 2016 it issued more than 1,000.

If you live in Oswego…

If you live in Oswego and are struggling to provide for your pet, you can visit the pantry from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursdays, or make an appointment. Be sure to bring proof of need and proof that your pet is licensed, and spayed or neutered. Proof of a current rabies vaccine is also required.

Since the pet pantry will be stocked with donations, residents are also encouraged to drop off supplies,  including donated pet food, kitty litter, treats and flea/tick and heart worm preventives.

For more information, click here.

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