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Juniata County Program Keeps Pets and Owners Together - abc27 WHTM

Juniata County Program Keeps Pets and Owners Together

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Inside the Juniata County Food Bank building, there's a prefect fit for many area residents. The food bank, located on the ground floor, and the Mifflin and Juniata County Pet Pantry in the basement. It's a connection between donated pet food and those struggling to feed their beloved animals.

"We needed a source of distribution where people would have access to get pet food," explained Sue Yorks, founder and director of the Local Pet Pantry program.

The pantry fills a heartbreaking need she witnessed first hand while volunteering at animal shelters, where people had to turn over beloved pets they couldn't afford to feed. Then, when her black lab Ben passed away six years ago, Sue and husband John decided to launch the non-profit agency in Ben's honor.

"I wanted to do something where we could help a lot of animals stay within our counties. Help our local families and our local pets," said Yorks.

In an average year, the Pet Pantry volunteers collect, sort and stock the shelves with 40-thousand pounds of bags and cans for Fidos and felines.

"We wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for our local community, our friends, families, businesses," said Yorks.

"Our long time goal is to prevent somebody from having to give up their family pet."

Pat Brown, a volunteer with the Juniata County Food Bank, helped client Debby Lindsey pick out food for her dog after she selected food and household goods for herself

"We can get you either a bag or 12 cans," explained Brown. "Whichever you prefer."

Lindsey calls the dog food availability an answer to her prayers.

"She is my right arm," declared Lindsey, holding her four-legged friend Chrissy Jo. "She's a therapeutic pet for me and I like that I can provide her with what she needs."

And for animal lover Sue Yorks, the pet food pantry is only a first step toward her ultimate goal of someday opening Juniata County's first animal shelter.

"It's definitely worth it," said Yorks, hoisting 25 pound bags of dog food into a cart. "I mean, everything we've done is definitely worth the effort and the time."

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