While the St. Joseph Animal Control and Rescue is closed to the public, it is continuing to help the community through its delivery Doggie Door Dash program.

The service is an extension of the shelter’s Pet Pantry and allows pet owners experiencing hardships the opportunity to have dog and cat food delivered to their doorstep.

Jennifer Lockwood, humane educator at the shelter, said the idea came from a volunteer’s suggestion, and everyone knew it was a positive way to help the community.

“We’ve had businesses donate and we’re asking the community if they have extra food to bring it down and donate to the program as well,” Lockwood said.

Lockwood said they’re trying to make the program as touch-free as possible and keep the appropriate social distance with residents.

“We’ll give them a time frame to deliver and an officer will deliver in that time frame and it will be a Door Dash type of style where we just leave it on their doorstep,” Lockwood said.

Many pet owners already have taken advantage of the program as a shortage of animal food has started in local stores.

“It’s very helpful that we’re here and whether that just means a little can to get through until they figure something out or if they need a big bag for a couple dogs to feed, we’re trying to help where we can,” Lockwood said.

The shelter closed to the public on Tuesday to follow ordinances put in place by the city of St. Joseph. Since the COVID-19 crisis started, Lockwood said the shelter has been busier, but staff haven’t had many changes and were completing adoptions and stayed open last week. There have been concerns about how COVID-19 impacts animals, but Lockwood said there’s nothing proving it does.

“There’s no proof that the coronavirus affects cats and dogs, and they can’t transfer it (to) people,”

Lockwood said.

Lockwood said the shelter has been working quickly to try and contact owners and get pets home if they’ve been impounded to help reduce its population.

Anyone needing assistance with food is recommended to call the shelter at 816-271-4877 to set up a delivery time.

Bailey Ketcham can be reached

at bailey.ketcham@newspressnow.com.

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