THE founder of a Dorset volunteer group helping to prevent pets from going hungry has described the impact of rising living costs as “off the scale”.

Claire, the founder of Every Paw Matters, has spoken of a huge increase in demand for the service, which helps feed over 350 dogs and cats across Bournemouth, Poole and surrounding areas.

She said: “We’re contacted by people every day.

“The impact is just off the scale.”

Misty’s Pet Food Bank has recently been introduced by the project, a service providing pet food to people struggling to feed their cats and dogs, and one in more demand than ever as a result of soaring living costs.

Bournemouth Echo:

Claire told the Daily Echo how many of the service users rely on regular food banks to get their own supplies, which without Misty’s Pet Food Bank, would have to be shared with pets.

She said: “People have had to give their dogs baked beans or rice.

“It’s just awful, it really is awful.”

Sadly, many pet owners have been forced to give up their animals because they cannot afford to keep them.

Claire said: “Losing a pet can feel like losing everything.

“If you’re an animal lover, you get how much the pet means. It’s heart-breaking.

“We want to avoid that happening.”

Bournemouth Echo:

Louise, a cat owner who has used Misty’s Pet Food Bank for almost six months, said: “The price of everything is so extortionate, you can’t afford to live.

“My cat needs to go to the vet at the moment, but I just can’t afford it.

“Without Claire’s help I wouldn’t be able to have him.

“He’s been my saving grace. I’ve not been well, and he’s kept me going. Without him I don’t think I’d be here either.”

Trying to meet new demands, Claire is calling for donations to be made to the food bank. She said: “I don’t know of anyone else doing this in the area- we can’t do it for the whole community.

“We don’t want any person to go hungry, but then we don’t any dog or cat to go hungry either.

“It’s a storm that’s not going to go away.”

For more information on how to donate, visit Misty’s Pet Food Bank Facebook page.