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Nuzzles & Co. provides pet food to owners in need during coronavirus crisis

Nuzzles & Co. staff prepare a pop-up pet pantry at the Target parking lot at 1110 S. 300 West in Salt Lake City. The Summit County pet rescue and adoption nonprofit sets up these pantries in Summit, Salt Lake and Utah counties to provide food and litter for pet owners whose jobs have been affected by the COVID-19 restrictions
Photo by Jamie Usry

Nuzzles & Co. April pet pantry schedule

Salt Lake County:

• Tuesday, April 21, Target parking lot, 1110 S. 300 W., Salt Lake City

• Wednesday, April 22, West Jordan Petco parking lot, 6842 S. Redwood Road, West Jordan

• Friday, April 24, Draper Petco parking lot, 195 E. 12300 S., Draper

Utah and Davis counties:

• Tuesday, April 14, Ogden Petco parking lot, 390 E. 525 North St., Ogden

• Wednesday, April 15, Spanish Fork Petco parking lot, 1118 North Canyon Creek Parkway, Spanish Fork

• Tuesday, April 28, Ogden Petco parking lot, 390 E. 525 North St., Ogden

• Wednesday, April 29, Spanish Fork Petco parking lot, 1118 North Canyon Creek Parkway, Spanish Fork

Pet owners affected by the COVID-19 will wag their tails when they hear about a new program by Nuzzles & Co.

The local pet rescue and adoption nonprofit is giving dog and cat food, as well as kitty litter, to anyone in need, according to Executive Director Jamie Usry.

“Our concern for the community is when people have been laid off from work or have had their hours reduced, expenses add up, and sometimes pet food is the last thing on their lists,” Usry said. “In those situations, we have seen more people surrender their pets to shelters, and our goal is to keep pets with their families during this crisis.”

Pet owners can pick up the food and litter every day between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. at the Nuzzles & Co. rescue ranch, 6466 N. High View Road, in Peoa, or visit one of the pop-up pet pantries that rotate along the Wasatch Front, Usry said.

There is enough stress and anxiety going on in the world as it is, so people should be able to keep their pets…” Jamie Usry, Nuzzles & Co. executive director

(See accompanying box for the April pet pantry schedule.)

All pick-ups can be done between 1-4 p.m., and Nuzzles & Co. will decide if more pantry scheduling is needed for May.

On April 7, one of the pantries fed 363 dogs and cats with 1,889 pounds of dry food and 2,246 cans of food, while cats received 499 pounds of litter, according to Usry.

“We are doing this for people who have been affected by the coronavirus, but if you’re in need for another reason, you can absolutely come get some support,” Usry said. “There is enough stress and anxiety going on in the world as it is, so people should be able to keep their pets.”

Nuzzles & Co. has been able to start this program with a $20,000 grant from the Jason Debus Heigl Foundation, an anti-animal cruelty nonprofit founded by actress and Summit County resident Katherine Heigl and her mother Nancy.

“The generous grant has provided enough money for us to purchase supplies through April, but for us to continue, we are relying on supplies donated from the community,” Usry said. “So, if you’re not in need and can pick up some extra bags or cans of food or cat litter and bring it by the ranch or our pop-up pet pantries, we would be most grateful to distribute it to the community.”

Nuzzles & Co. has a wish list on Amazon, and it is also accepting monetary donations through its website, nuzzlesandco.org.

In addition, longtime Nuzzles & Co. supporters Cheryl and Lance Wise, owners of the motorcycle kit company Blue Collar Bobbers, have offered to match all donations up to $50,000 the nonprofit receives during the month of April, Usry said.

The Wises are doing this in memory of their father Calvin Wise, who was not only an animal lover, but a World War II veteran and Silver Medal Star recipient, she said.

“If people can donate anything, $5, $10 or $100, this will help keep us on our feet until (the shutdown) is over,” Usry said. “Right now, we have low adoption income and zero clinic income, so this matching $50,000 donation will be huge in getting us up and running the second this is over.”

Nuzzles & Co. had to shut down its adoption center at Outlets Park City three weeks ago, and the rescue ranch has been closed to the public for two weeks, Usry said.

“We have, however, been able to place 160 of our animals into foster-care homes,” she said. “So while we’re limiting the public, these animals are in a home getting love and not sitting in a cage.”

Still, if anyone is interested in adopting a pet, Usry and her staff will help all they can.

“We will set up a virtual meet-and-greet with one of our foster families, and if that goes well we will have them and the foster parents come up to the ranch for a safe meet-and-greet that adheres to social distancing regulations and set up an adoption,” Usry said. “This will all be done by appointment, because we can’t just have the whole public show up.”

Appointments can be made by contacting Nuzzles & Co. between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. at 435-608-1424.

“While the adoption center is closed, we still have a staff caring for a few of the animals onsite at the ranch,” Usry said. “We still are taking care of animals’ medical needs.”

In addition to shutting down the adoption center and ranch to the public, Nuzzles & Co. has been forced to stop its animal rescue missions on the Navajo reservation, and limit its rescues in northern Utah.

“First of all we’re not allowed on the reservation right now, because they’re pretty locked down due to coronavirus, and we don’t want to spread it around or bring more to Summit County,” Usry said. “We are still working with our main partners — Summit County Animal Control and Draper Animal Services — for emergency rescues.”


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