The Alberni-Clayoquot SPCA branch is seeking donations for its Animeals program to help provide pet food for owners who need assistance. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

Port Alberni SPCA’s Animeals program needs help

Food donations for pets in need have dropped off due to COVID-19

The Port Alberni SPCA ‘Animeals’ program needs help.

The BC SPCA in Port Alberni has provided outreach services to the communities they serve for more than 10 years. While adjustments were made to the programming due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the branch has persevered in ensuring pet guardians have what they need during these difficult times.

“For years we have been providing food every third Saturday at the month at our local event ‘Animeals’, run primarily thanks to our amazing volunteers,” says Sam Sattar, manager at the BC SPCA’s Alberni-Clayoquot Branch. “However, with COVID-19 protocols, our volunteer capacity has been reduced and we’ve had to make some significant changes while demand has also increased.”

In response to COVID-19, the SPCA location switched their monthly event to a contactless pick-up by appointment system at the branch itself, where staff provides supplies to anyone in need of pet food.

“This programming has been essential for pet owners in our community,” says Sattar. “In addition to providing supplies, we are able to talk with people about their animals and let them know of some of our programs available such as our low income spay/neuter program for cats.”

In addition to the revamped Animeals, the branch has increased the food donations they provide to the Salvation Army, as well as the local overdose prevention site and the Port Alberni Shelter where pet food is given to clients with pets.

Because there are more drop-off points, they are in need of food donations, Sattar said. “We end up getting more dog food than cat food; we run out of cat food more,” he said. “It seems there are more dog owners than cat owners.”

The SPCA also receives a lot of donations of food for larger dogs, which means that food for smaller breeds is harder to find.

The SPCA will accept any donations of pet food, whether it is canned or dry, and even if a bag is already open (but not past its best-before date). They have had people come in with food they opened and their animals don’t like it.

Sattar gives credit to the community for responding with enthusiasm and generosity when the branch makes call-outs for food donations. “These supplies go directly to pet owners in need, so this work is directly made possible thanks to the generous community of Port Alberni.”

Items can be dropped off Monday to Saturday between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the Alberni-Clayoquot SPCA branch, at 4936 Broughton Street, Port Alberni. Individuals seeking assistance can pick up food for their pets by appointment by calling the branch at (250) 723-5269.

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional DistrictAnimalsBCSPCA

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