COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A crisis is brewing for 50 to 60 animal rescues and shelters as the source of their cheap food stopped.
Most of the shelters are in Ohio and at least one comes from Bluefield, West Virginia, all are in rural economically depressed areas where money is tight.
According to Canine Collective Founder and Director Jean Lally, other services could be lost to higher food costs.
Ted Williams, former coordinator for the donated food shipped here from Texas said the rescues and shelters handle thousands of animals and are now without an adequate cheap food supply.
Lally and Williams have spoken with all of the rural rescues who said they are desperate.
“They are panicky, they do not know how they are going to feed their dogs” Lally said.
For four and a half years Ted and Peggy Williams volunteered to do the work out of Canine Collective, distributing 40,000 pounds of donated animal food a month for those rescues and shelters.
“I don’t know if you can get fired from a volunteer job, but I did,” Williams said he received and email from Rescue Bank, the Texas nonprofit organizing the donations from pet food manufacturers.
Williams said Rescue Bank shut off the donated pet food supplies while looking for someone else to run it. He said he is not worried about himself and Peggy, but instead for the rural rescues.
I called the development director for Rescue Bank who said the donated food won’t be distributed here for up to two months.
“Every dime that they have has to go to the care of the animals that they have and this cheaper food was a lot easier for them to purchase,” Williams said.
NBC4 asked John Kane with Rescue Banks about the anxiety caused by the food stoppage.
“Sure, sure we absolutely understand that,” sid Kane
Kane said they are and sympathetic towards Ted, Peggy and the rescues but said the two were overwhelmed with the workload.
“Really to be successful at this it takes a team of about five to six volunteers,” Kane said. He said they have 25 other teams around the country. He said they tried to make a smooth transition to a new team, but no one in Central Ohio has stepped forward.
“Unfortunately in Ted and Peggy’s case the community never provided then with volunteers either,” Kane said.
Williams said he was never asked to recruit more volunteers before he was removed. He said he notified them he would be off for a few days because of surgery and they emailed him shortly after thanking him, but he said they were looking for someone else to coordinate the effort. “I would have helped them bring in someone else and train them, but they did not ask,” Williams said.
Kane said they a distributor in Cincinnati who helps with southern Ohio and Northern Kentucky and has other prospects for Central Ohio, but background checks and other hurdles mean six to eight weeks before the donated food supply can start back up.
If any pet food manufacturer wants to donate pet food, Canine Collective said they will make sure it gets to those in need. Canine Collective can be reached at 614-800-1712, Monday thru Friday and food supplies can be brought to the Kennel on US 42 just east of SR 33 Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m.