Edmonton food bank gone to the dogs (and cats)

An Edmonton inner-city is going to the dogs, and cats for that matter.

Inner-city agency offers pet food and kitty litter to less fortunate

Cheryl Hawryluk and Harley occasionally lean on the Pet Food Bank in downtown Edmonton. (CBC News)

An Edmonton inner-city agency is now offering free kibble and kitty litter to the city's homeless and low-income earners who own pets.

"My cat comes first," says Cheryl Hawryluk, a client with the Pet Food Bank at Boyle Street Community Services.

Hawryluk has shared a small apartment with her cat Harley for the past couple years.

"I can go to the Mustard Seed and eat," she said. "He can't. I always buy food for him at the end of every month, food and kitty litter, but if I run out, I know where I can go to get some more."

Hawryluk said she's able to make ends meet most months, but the food bank has saved her a few times when she's come up short.

Leanne Kovacs came up with the pet food bank idea while working at Boyle Street and observing the attachments people on the streets form with their pets.

"It's a companion. It's someone who will always be there for you, will never leave you. And just having that loyalty, especially in this community, can be a huge thing."

Before the program started, Boyle Street clients would share their meals with their pets, she said.

So far, about 40 people have started using the pet food bank.

Supplies can be donated at 11 pet stores across the city.