KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT)- Times are still tough for many in this recovering economy, including man's best friend.
A local animal shelter helps those who can't afford pet food, but recently, it's been struggling too.
Once a month, a long line forms outside Young Williams Animal Center in Knoxville. The people here are waiting to get free food for their four-legged friends. Without the program, Rachel Horton says her dog, Baby, might not be able to eat.
Rachel Horton says, "well, with me and my husband both not working right now, it would honestly be hard - very hard. I mean, my dog is like my child. I treat her just like one of my kids."
As food is loaded into trunks, people express over and over again how much the service means to them:
Michelle Russell, who picked up pet food says, "I have three dogs and a cat. I'm on disability. And it's just so hard now-a-days with the economy to help feed your dog."
David Smith, who also came out to get food for his pet tells us "I couldn't live without them. And I just don't make - I don't have that much income coming in."
Local 8 News Reporter Hilary Magacs says "In order to get pet food like this, people have to qualify financially. They also have to have their pets spayed or neutered - if they're not, the center can help them do that at a low cost. And also, they have to do 3 hours of community service every month. "
The cat and dog food is donated to Young Williams Animal Center by community members. But recently, there's been a big problem:
Xan Rawls, with Young Williams Animal Center says, "I opened up our food pantry last Friday and we had not one kibble on the floor for dog food. And of course, that's a panic attack for me."
Rawls tells Local 8 News word spread and more food was donated for this month's give-a-way - but she's worried about June.
Rawls says "We always worry about that - the last two months, we had to turn people away."
To help make sure that doesn't happen again - and to keep tails wagging - Rawls says you can donate pet food to the center any day of the week.
Rawls says the center usually helps up to 70 people each month.
If you'd like to drop off pet food, Young Williams is open from 12 to 6 every day.