RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Many people are trying to cut corners these days, and some are facing the tough choice of getting rid of a family pet, because they simply can't afford it. But the SPCA is offering help -- it's called the Pet Pantry.
From dog biscuits to organic pet food, everyone who comes asking for help will leave with at least a bag of dry pet food and some cans. But you have to qualify and earn less than $30,000 dollars a year.
"When folks are having a hard time the worst thing that can possibly happen to them is to have to give up their pets," said Robin Starr, President of the Richmond SPCA.
Last April, when the economy was spiraling downwards and job loss was at its peak, the SPCA saw a spike in intake of pets. It was then when they opened up what is now the food pantry for pets.
On average, 30 to 40 families are assisted every month. So far, more than 400 pets have benefited from the Pet Pantry and the number grows each day.
"I got laid off from my job and I needed some help it was just costing too much money," said first time food recipient, Carol West. "They help me out and they've been wonderful it's been very very good," she said.
Nathan Jones is also receiving help for the first time.
"I was amazed," Jones said. "I was very surprised, because I have never heard of such a thing," he said.
Jones was left to take care of Emmy after his father recently suffered from a stroke. There have been several deaths in the family and Jones said he couldn't bear the thought of his father giving up Emmy.
"You know, right now, his dog is really the only thing he has left aside from me and they've grown really close so to lose the pet would be another hardship to deal with," said Jones.
To apply online go to http://richmondspca.org/petpantry. You can also call 521-1323