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June 3, 2010

12 Tons of Mars, Humane Choice Pet Food to Arrive at Oil-Spill Affected Louisiana Animal Shelters

Food will be distributed to financially strapped pet-owners

Relief for beleaguered pet owners living along the Louisiana Gulf Coast will arrive Thursday—a delivery of 12 tons of dog and cat food arranged by The Humane Society of the United States.

The needly relief supplies are expected to arrive by tractor-trailer at about 4:30 p.m. near the Plaquemines Parish Department of Health and Animal Control, at 251 F. Edward Hebert Blvd. in Belle Chasse, La.

The Humane Society of the United States coordinated the donation of 12 tons of dog and cat food from Mars Petcare U.S. and one-third ton of dog food from The Humane Choice Company, the maker of The HSUS' dog food. The food will be turned over to the Plaquemines Parish Department of Health and Animal Control. Staffers and volunteers there will then take the food to a distribution site, centrally located in Plaquemines Parish, to distribute the food directly to residents in coastal areas affected by the BP spill.

"The Humane Society of the United States was saddened to hear that animals inland from the shoreline are also suffering from this disaster," said Julia Breaux, The HSUS' Louisiana state director. "Hopefully, the donation from Mars Petcare U.S. and the Pedigree Foundation and The Humane Choice Company will help by providing pet owners the opportunity to continue caring for their beloved animals."

Breaux received word from Susan Sampey of Plaquemines Parish Animal Welfare Society that she was seeing an increase in relinquishment of pets after the spill. Owners whose livelihoods have been disrupted said they could no longer afford to care for their companion animals. The HSUS coordinated the donation so those shelters could offer pet food as an alternative to keep families intact during this crisis.

"Cats and dogs are often the innocent victims when their owner's livelihood is impacted in a disaster," said Mars Petcare U.S. Vice President of Corporate Affairs Debra Fair. "We support the shelters that are helping these pets stay with their families by providing these badly needed resources to the hard-hit residents of the Gulf Coast region."

The delivery includes 24 pallets of dog and cat food—a mixed load of 24,704 pounds of Mars dog and cat food products and about 700 pounds of Humane Choice.

Breaux and volunteers from Plaquemines Parish and St. Bernard Parish shelters would be on hand Thursday near the Plaquemines Parish Department of Health and Animal Control to unload the food.

Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser said, "As we work to protect our marsh and wildlife during the oil spill disaster, we can't forget our pets. Plaquemines Parish residents are known for being pet lovers. We don't want people who are directly affected by this tragedy to have to choose between feeding their pets or feeding themselves. We want to thank the Humane Society for their thoughtful donation during this difficult time."

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.

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