A woman who set up a pet food bank in York a year ago has said demand for the service has grown as the living crisis deepens.
Ann Hirst set up the York Pet Food Bank in January 2023 to “help keep animals with families”.
She stores food donations in her garage for those struggling with rising costs.
“Even if I can just prevent a pet from being abandoned or surrendered, it has to be able to let go,” she said.
Ms Hirst, who worked in animal rescue for 30 years before setting up the food bank, added: “I decided to start it because I had heard some horror stories of people going to rescues, pets. I saw.”
He told BBC Radio York: “I kept thinking ‘what about the pet food bank in York’, but thought it wouldn’t pan out.
“So I did a bit of research and realized they were being set up all over the UK in areas of extreme poverty where people were struggling to feed their pets.”
Ms Hirst said the project had gone from strength to strength, with donation drop-off points in Acomb, Woodthorpe, Huntington and Naburn.
More collection points have been added this winter, including some pet stores and kennels.
“I didn’t even have a can of cat or dog food when I started this,” Ms Hurst said.
“Since then I have continued to donate and I have never run out or had to stop temporarily.”
He said that the local community is also behind the project.
“The amount of support has been fantastic and I really appreciate everyone who has donated, every single can or packet of cat or dog food,” he said.
“Demand has picked up over the past few months, particularly with the cost of living crisis,” Ms Hirst said.
“Over the last few months I’ve also asked local human food banks if I can provide them with pet food.”
She said it was “sad” pet food banks were needed, adding: “Unfortunately it’s a sign of the times and because they can’t speak for themselves pets can be forgotten.”