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HART in desperate need of dog, cat food

Diane Whiting lifted one of two bags of dog food out of her car Wednesday in the

Heartland Animal Rescue Team has always relied on the kindness of its supporters to provide bags of dog and cat food for its many homeless animals.

But the Baxter animal shelter ran out of pet food Tuesday and was forced for the first time in many years to purchase food. 

“We are just loaded down with animals,” Donna Wambeke, HART executive director, said Wednesday. “We took in 40 animals yesterday.”

HART has about 80 mouths to feed at the animal shelter, including the dogs and cats in the impound, those available for adoption and the 40 animals — 35 cats and kittens and five dogs — who were brought in Tuesday. 

Wambeke said about 35 of those cats and dogs were scheduled to be brought in Tuesday. Many of them are stray cats and kittens. She said the kitten season was about a month later than usual this year. She said the shelter is down about 300 cats from last year and she is hopeful it is a sign that spay and neuter programs are working. About 10-15 of the dogs will be transferred Thursday to other shelters in the Twin Cities area to make room on the adoption floor for dogs to be moved over from the impound. 

Wambeke said there are no other shelters to transfer cats to since all shelters are overwhelmed with cats and kittens.

“Cats are an epidemic, they really are,” said Wambeke. 

Wambeke is asking for the public’s help. The shelter needs donations of quality, brand name bags of cat, kitten, puppy and dog food. This would include any brands such as Purina, Pedigree and Iams.

“We need to feed a quality food because the animals who come in are not in good shape,” Wambeke explained. 

They also need scoopable cat litter. 

Wambeke said the shelter doesn’t need cat or dog treats since they have a good supply of those. She said many people donate pet food during the holidays but this time of year the shelter doesn’t receive as many donations. 

As word got out that HART needed food, the donations began to come in Wednesday.

“With the economy, we don’t have as many donations as we’ve had, but people are stepping up to the plate this afternoon,” Wambeke said. 

HART also is hoping people will come and adopt a pet, especially a cat or kitten.

Donations may be dropped off at HART during its regular hours, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. The animal shelter is closed to the public on Mondays. 

For more information, call HART at 829-4141.

JODIE TWEED may be reached at or 855-5858.