Chris Jackson, who works at US Customs and Border Protection, is one of the 800,000 federal workers furloughed by the government shutdown. Jackson, who has been employed by the agency for 19 years, has been unable to work for more than a month. As a result, he’s having difficulty making ends meet.
Jackson, who has a dog named Nova, is also overextended due to the cost of pet food. "It's not cheap, but you know,” he says. “This is my kid, so I would feed her before I fed myself."
Luckily, the Baltimore Humane Society has stepped up this week to help struggling pet owners. Thanks to a donation from Safeway, which delivered $10,000 of dog and cat food to the society’s pet food bank, furloughed federal workers will be able to feed their pets.
"We hope that it will help make their lives a little bit easier,” said Wendy Goldband with the Baltimore Humane Society. “We know that a lot of people who don’t have the savings are struggling. And we don’t want them to feel like, ‘Oh my gosh I have to choose between buying pet food for my dog or giving it up.’"
The humane society has agreed to distribute free food to pet owners until it runs out. They only request that owners show a federal ID in order to receive a month’s supply of pet food. “Dog food’s not cheap, and to be able to come out here and alleviate that concern, at least, is huge,” Jackson says.
According to the humane society’s Facebook page, free pet food will be available at the Baltimore Humane Society Pet Food Bank. Food will be distributed 9 am to 6 pm from Tuesday to Sunday and 9 am. to 3 pm on Mondays. The food bank is located at 1601 Nicodemus Road in Reisterstown.
The Humane Society of Baltimore County, now known as the Baltimore Humane Society (BHS), was founded in 1927 by Elsie Seeger Barton, who had suffered from rheumatic fever as a teenager and had been comforted by her family’s pets while she was bedridden. When she recovered, she set up a shelter for abused and homeless animals on her family’s property. By the 1920’s, she was known in the community as the animal lady. Soon, she joined other society women to found the Baltimore Humane Society.
In 2008, the Baltimore Humane Society became a no-kill organization, meaning they do not euthanize animals as a result of time or space constraints. By working with other animal welfare organizations, shelters, they strive to save as many lives as possible. In 2011, the society underwent a renovation, which doubled its capacity to shelter pets, and added amenities such as new windows and HVAC systems, backup power generators, new kennels and cat condos, cat communal rooms, two new exam rooms, and other upgrades.