Jacksonville animal shelter seeks pet food donations

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Kellie Rainka says she just felt obligated.

"I saw they were short on dog food, so I just brought in my donation. I'm just here to help," she said.

She's one of several trying to help Tuesday by dropping off food at Jacksonville's Animal Care and Protective Services center.

Lately, the city-run shelter has been seeing hard times, having to take in way too many animals and losing a big contract with the company that used to give free food. ACPS only had to pay for shipping.

Scott Trebatoski, who runs the shelter, says the supplier is cutting back on its programs, and that's putting a dent in the budget.

"Oh, it's a huge issue," he said. "We went from potentially looking at $30,000 a year in shipping to as much as $150,000 a year in food costs."

On Monday, the mayor's budget committee allowed ACPS to reallocate $20,000 from within its budget to buy more food, but that means other funds services have to suffer. So shelter workers are now pleading with the public through social media.

"We can't not feed the animals. So it became a No. 1 priority," Trebatoski said.

Those at ACPS say you can help out in two different ways: You can donate some dry food that's, of course, high in nutrition, or you can come by the adoption center and adopt a dog or a cat, that way workers say there will be less animals for them to have to feed there.

Local charities are also stepping up trying to raise awareness of the problem so no dog or cat goes hungry.

"Again, we're putting the plea out there. Anyone that can help, it'd be much appreciated, awesome, and you're doing something for the animals," said Allison Abbott, of Friends of Jacksonville Animals.

Anyone wishing to donate feed the pets can do so at the city's shelter at 2020 Forest Street.

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