Idaho Humane Society offers Pet Food Pantry to help with budget strain

Animal Shelter
Posted at 5:15 PM, Feb 10, 2023

BOISE, Idaho — Across the country, many animal shelters are seeing the growing trend of pets being surrendered because their owners just can’t afford them anymore.  

It’s a trend that’s happening in Idaho and the Treasure Valley, as well.  

Kristine Schellhaas with the Idaho Humane Society said one of the contributing factors is that "a lot of people are struggling financially due to COVID and the pandemic. Some of them lost their jobs and have never been in financial crisis before. People that worked in restaurants or hotels or those industries that were impacted.”  

Depending on the size and type of pet you have, you could be spending almost a hundred dollars or more each month. And that’s not factoring in emergency or unplanned expenses.  

Shelters say another issue leading to families having to give up their beloved pets is rising inflation. The high cost of groceries right now and having another mouth to feed is causing a strain on budgets, especially for quality pet food.  

Rising rent is also a problem. According to Zillow, the median monthly rental price for a 3-bedroom house in Boise is $2,200, while a one-bedroom apartment runs about $1,372.  

“We’ve seen families move in with other family members,” said Schellhaas. “Then they have to make that hard decision of who gets to keep their pet, because sometimes the pets just don’t get along or family members just aren’t interested in having large animals if they’re a small animal home.”  

The good thing is that there is help out there for pet owners struggling to feed and care for an animal. The Idaho Humane Society’s Pet Food Pantry program can provide people with pet food for up to 6 months at a time for free. They also have low-income grants and payment plans for their veterinary medical center.  

If you want to lend a hand and help your local shelter, you’re welcome to donate money or your time as a volunteer, drop off a bag or can of dog or cat food, or even foster an animal for a while until it can find its forever home.