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Animal Shelter Hopes Food Pantry Will Keep Pets In Homes

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The King Street Cats orphanage in Alexandria, Va., has been in business since 2003.
Allie Phillips, King Street Cats
The King Street Cats orphanage in Alexandria, Va., has been in business since 2003.

King Street Cats is a busy shelter in Alexandria where staff members provide shelter for dozens of cats. Melissa Murphy is on the fundraising committee and says a down economy means more and more people are abandoning animals not because they want to, but because they cant afford to feed them.

To prevent that from happening, they opened a cat food pantry for needy pet owners.

"Pets are not just pets; they're part of your family. And it's heartbreaking to see a family member have to go," Murphy says.

Employees say dozens of locals have taken advantage of the pantry. Shelter president Vivien Bacon says they even sent a desperate woman in St. Louis a gift card so she wouldn't have to give up her five cats.

"We have seen quite an upsurge in the last year, year and a half with cats being given up," Bacon says.

To help turn the tide, the shelter encourages people to donate to their pantry. They also have a big fundraiser in the works for June.

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