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Hamlin Dog Shelter announces pet food pantry

by Kari Ashworth - Executive Editor
Wed, Feb 26th 2020 10:00 am
A new program will be available in April in an attempt to keep pets out of the shelters and with their owners. Photo Courtesy of Westside Pet Food Pantry via Facebook
A new program will be available in April in an attempt to keep pets out of the shelters and with their owners. Photo Courtesy of Westside Pet Food Pantry via Facebook
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The Hamlin Dog Shelter announced a new program, called the Westside Pet Food Pantry, on Wednesday, Feb. 19, that provides pet food to senior citizens who cannot afford it.

Dave Maynard, director of the shelter and dog patrol officer, thought of the idea after seeing many seniors have to surrender or return their dogs due to the financial strain it left on them. 

“Right now we’re set up for seniors, to provide pet food to seniors that otherwise could not afford it,” Maynard said. “What we’ve seen in the past is that a lot of seniors have to return their dogs because they can’t afford to feed their cats or dogs, so this is a little help to prevent that from happening and keep them together.”

While the shelter only adopts out dogs, the pet food pantry is open to both dogs and cats. The adoption fees for the dogs are “relatively cheap,” with the fee amounting to $120.

“Our adoption fees are $120 but $35 of that is a refundable deposit when they get spayed and neutered,” Maynard said. “Or if the dog is spayed or neutered, then it’s $85.”

The pet food pantry will begin handing out applications soon and hope to have the program up-and-running in April. Many community members have helped with the development of the program, including Monroe County Legislator Jackie Smith, Clarkson Town Supervisor Christa Filipowicz, Hamlin Town Supervisor Eric Peters and Brockport High School student Haley Sutherby.

Like Maynard, Filipowicz saw a need for this program, stating the pair “worked on trying to identify those in need and the best way to approach this so that the neediest are served.” Filipowicz has been involved since the beginning stages of the program.

“I’ve been onboard since Dave [Maynard] brought this idea to me early last year,” Filipowicz said. “Together with student Haley Sutherby and Monroe County Legislator Jackie Smith (who is also a Clarkson resident), we have been meeting and [we] mapped a strategic plan, researched best practices and legal issues. I was also able to assist with the marketing and logo development.”

Filipowicz said the community has not only a need for a program like this but also an abundance of helpful citizens. 

“We know that we have senior citizens who have pets that bring joy to their lives and for one reason or another they may not be able to afford food for them,” Filipowicz said. “These are the residents we will serve. The need may be only a month or two or significantly longer. Dave has worked tirelessly seeking donations from organizations and setting up an account on Amazon so others may also donate. We have a very generous community and this makes it simple for others to help out.”

So far, the program has gotten “quite a bit” of donations, according to Maynard, as well as an industrial shelving unit donated by the MIA Foundation. For those who would like to donate, Maynard said there are a few ways to do so. 

“Food or cash,” Maynard said. “If they want to do a cash donation, we prefer they go to Pet Friendly on Manitou Road in Hilton; they do it all right there, they’ll purchase food for us, or they can go to Amazon.”

Donations are being accepted at each town clerk’s office — Parma, Hilton, Clarkson and Sweden — as well as at the shelters on weekend mornings. 

For now, the program will be available to senior citizens, and applications will be available at the Town Clerk’s Office. There will be a pre-approval process, but Maynard said it “won’t be picky” and that the program is “basically for anyone who needs it.”

Maynard said there is a possibility for expansion to low income families but would like to see how the senior citizen program fares at the moment. 

For more information on the Westside Pet Food Pantry, you can visit its Facebook page as well as Hamlin Dog Shelter’s Facebook page.

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