A MALTON veterinary practice has started a foodbank for pets this Christmas.

Mount Veterinary Group is aiming to help owners who are worried about having to give up their much-loved pets as they are struggling to afford to feed them.

In the run up to Christmas, the practice in Middlecave Road, Malton, is inviting clients visiting the practice to donate pet food, biscuits and treats that will be distributed to owners who rely on support from Ryedale Foodbank, which provides a lifeline to families and individuals.

The foodbank expects to help more than 200 people during December and it is concerned about pet owners facing the heartbreak of having to give up their beloved pets through financial hardship.

Some of the donated cat food will also be handed over to Hull & District Cats Protection, which finds good homes for cats in need, and encourages the neutering.

Mount Vets veterinary nurse Michelle Coatsworth, who is organising the special foodbank said: “Our aim is to collect as much pet food as possible to help two extremely worthwhile causes that do fantastic work right at the heart of the community we serve. If families or individuals are relying on foodbanks, their pets will also be in need. Pets are part of the family and no one will want to have to get rid of a pet they love and care for, so we want to ensure help is out there.

“Our clients are always very generous and supportive of any charities we help and any food, treats, biscuits or toys will be gratefully received to help pets over the festive season.”

John Mackenzie, a volunteer with Ryedale Foodbank, said: “People are in crisis and the last thing they want is to lose their pets because they are part of the family.

“We always ask people coming to us with a voucher if they have any pets so we can help, but we are particularly in need of dog food.

“We would like to think that providing owners with dog food will help them keep their pets in their own home, which is the best for all concerned and will ease the fear of losing their much-loved pets.”