Toronto Humane Society ramps up pet food bank during pandemic

The Toronto Humane Society hopes to keep pets and their people together as Canada grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The non-profit group is ramping up its 'Pet Food Bank' program to help animal owners who face a 'temporary hardship' due to the sweeping measures enacted to fight the spread of the virus. 

Spokesperson Hannah Sotropa says the 'Pet Food Bank' provides free pet food to people whose incomes have been slashed or taken away due to being in self-isolation, or have had their workplace shut down. 

"We will be handing out food outside of our building," Sotropa says. 

"It is so important that we don't forget that these animals also need food in their bellies, especially during these hard times." 

The Humane Society is offering this helping hand as animal shelters across North America brace for a spike in the number of people relinquishing their pets due to financial hardship. 

There are reports of shelters in places like Manitoba and California making pleas for people to step up and foster animals until the worst of the pandemic is over.  

Animal rights advocates are concerned that many pets could be euthanized if shelters run out of room to house them. 

The hope at the Toronto Humane Society is that its food bank will provide pet owners with a means to afford to keep their animals happy and healthy while they weather the financial storm. 

"We are encouraging ... those who already have animals to maintain those already existing bonds with their animals and to continue loving and caring for them," Sotropa says. 

The Humane Society has had to close its doors to the public in light of social distancing measures recommended by public health authorities. 

However, Sotropa says that staff are still working "24/7" to make sure the animals in their care are looked-after. 

She stresses that anyone looking to bring an animal into their life can visit the Human Society's website to view the pets up for fostering an adoption. 

Appointments can be made to visit the animals in an environment that will adhere to any public health orders related to the pandemic. 

"Closures like this obviously do take a hit on organizations like ours," Sotropa says. 

"We are still accepting donations online and all of the money will stay in the shelter to support our animals, and animals in the city of Toronto, as well."

You can visit the Toronto Humane Society's Pet Food Bank:

Monday to Friday - 11am to 7pm
Saturday and Sunday - 10am to 6pm

11 River Street,
Toronto, Ontario

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