ASPCA in NYC opens pet food pantry amid coronavirus outbreak

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Amid the coronavirus shutdown in New York City, residents with pets are getting a helping hand.

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The ASPCA opened a pet food pantry, by appointment only, with the Petco Foundation, Blue Buffalo, and PetSmart Charities to provide food and supplies, including kitty litter, to dog and cat owners for free.

“The message we want to tell pet parents is that we are here for them,” ASPCA president and CEO Matt Bershadker told 1010 WINS. “During times of crisis it’s really important that people are able to keep their pets for the psychological benefit, the companionship, the joy, the love, the stress relief that comes from having an animal.”

New York authorities rushed to bring in an army of medical volunteers Wednesday as the statewide death toll from the coronavirus doubled in 72 hours to more than 1,900 and the wail of ambulances in the otherwise eerily quiet streets of the city became the heartbreaking soundtrack of the crisis.

ASPCA is setting up similar pantries in other hard-hit cities in California, Florida and North Carolina.

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Grants are also being offered to animal shelters in critical need of funds.

“The biggest concern we have is the economic uncertainty,” said Bershadker. “Will donors continue to be able to support shelters in the long run and will shelters be able to deliver on their lifesaving mission?”