SCOTLAND’S first food bank for dogs has been launched by an animal lover disturbed by the number of homeless people going without dinner to feed their pets.

Kelly Ann Stevenson took the unusual step after learning how people living on the streets often sacrifice meals to ensure their dogs were well fed.

The 32-year-old, who runs a dog walking and training service, also learned that charity food banks only provide for people and that dog food is not on the menu.

Her doggie foodbank has been established in Glasgow and she is hopeful it will attract sufficient backing to expand into more cities and help more animals.

She said: “My sister lost her job and found herself in the position of having to use a food bank. She said that they didn’t give food parcels for animals so I offered to feed her dog while she needed me too.

“She’s now back on her feet but it did make me think about what other people might do in that position.”

Ms Stevenson set up her business, Canine Campus, nine years ago as a dog walking service but as the firm grew she began carrying out animal behaviour correction for rescue centres.

She also rehomes dogs, offering a last chance to some which face being put to sleep if a new home cannot be found.

The lifelong dog lover says she remembers going out walking her family’s dogs from the age of five in the Gorbals, where she grew up.

She said: “I can’t resist a sob story. I once drove across the UK for a disabled bull terrier. I would do anything for a dog that was in need of help or being rescued.

“I have had the care of dogs who it was said could not be fixed and I have managed to socialise them and see them to good homes.

“But it is difficult to financially support dogs through the process so we do get donations of food or collars or coats. But what I would ideally like to do is expand the service.”

Latest figures from The Trussell Trust show its network of 50 food banks in Scotland gave out more than 60,000 emergency parcels from April to September last year, a rise of 17 per cent on the previous year.

However it says its figures are an underestimate of the true level of domestic crisis faced by families, as many small charities and churches also run food banks or schemes for handing out food to those in need.

Ms Stevenson hopes to set up a network of dedicated donors who give £1 a week to make sure supplies can be constantly topped up. She added: “My plan, once I get enough food and supplies, is to have a regular time and place to distribute food so that homeless people and people who need help to feed their pets can come and collect it from me.

“At the moment I am dropping off food to anyone who needs it but demand is getting too high for me to keep doing that.
“Some people can be too embarrassed to ask for help but I want them to know that help is available. If we can encourage, say, 1,000 people to give £1 a week then we will be able to provide a really good service.”