Helping pet owners who are struggling, financially

FRESNO, Calif.

For years, H.O.P.E. Animal Foundation has offered low cost spay and neutering to the public. Now, they also offer low cost veterinary services for families who qualify. "Quite a few clients that come to us do not ever see a veterinarian. We are the first and last time, when they come for spay and neuter or vaccines," said Whitney Mayeda, H.O.P.E.'s assistant director.

The wellness care covers basic issues and even some surgeries. "Oso" arrived Wednesday to have a tumor removed from his leg, saving his family hundreds of dollars. "It definitely needs to be removed because if it gets any bigger, we're not going to be able to close the incision. So it needs to be done as soon as possible," said veterinarian Dr. Jessica Palacios. The goal is to keep pets with their loving families -- who otherwise may have to give them up.

When money becomes an issue, even pet food can be hard to come by. A food pantry at Hope Lutheran Church serves more than a hundred people a week. Its co-director said clients occasionally ask for pet food. "Many of our clients will come to the pantry, pets in tow, and they'll ask us if we have dog food and we have to tell them no. We can't afford it with our limited budget," said Joyce Stenberg.

A new non-profit organization is now helping to fill that need. Fresno County's first pet food pantry, Halo Cafe, delivered dog food to the pantry Wednesday. The organization is just three months old, but its founder said it's filling a big need in the community. "People let us know via email or phone what their need is, we have them fill out a release form and we are happy to deliver the food to a common area that they're comfortable with," said Halo Cafe founder Jennifer Quinn-Yovino.

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