Pet Food Bank Faces Challenging Transition

Aug 31, 2012

One of the nation's largest pet food banks is being forced to move. The Pongo Fund distributes tons of pet food to low-income animal lovers each year in Oregon and Washington. But problems at its central distribution center will mean a break in distributing pet food this fall. Correspondent Chris Lehman reports.

Larry Chusid was inspired to start the Pongo Fund three years ago when he learned that many struggling, hungry pet owners would give a portion of their human food to help sustain their pets.

"The first thing they would do would be to take that package of hot dogs or ground beef or package of chili and feed that to their dog," he says. "People were giving up the most valuable or high-protein items in their food box to first feed their pets."

Last winter, water pouring in from a leaky roof destroyed thousands of dollars worth of food at the Pongo Fund's headquarters in Portland. This summer it became clear that the building was no longer usable, and that's leading to the organization's first ever break in service.

Chusid says while the organization moves to a new location across town, it will send extra pet food to partner groups across the region. But he says that means the central warehouse will be virtually empty when it opens at its new location in October.

Chusid says the group is urgently seeking donations to replenish its supplies. I'm Chris Lehman reporting.

Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio