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Md. police compete to stock pet food banks

As part of a social action initiative, employees and officers from the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions in Sykesville are competing to see who can help feed the most pets in need.

The group will help supply the Baltimore Humane Society's Bmore Kind Pet Food Bank and the Humane Society of Carroll County's Dog Days of Summer Pet Food Drive through Sept. 4, and are seeking donations from the public.

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"We are all so excited to be able to help animals in need," said Beth Houghtaling, a representative of the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions Police Academy. "There are eight units competing. Whoever brings in the most food by weight gets a box of doughnuts and coffee for their unit. The units here are so very competitive, it makes this drive a lot of fun."

Houghtaling said a food drive is a simple and fun way to get the units involved in their community.

"Everyone here loves animals, so it's easy," she said.

Both the Humane Society of Carroll County and the Baltimore Humane Society are nonprofits that receive no operational funding from the government or any national humane society. They rely on donations and events to keep the facilities running, according to Wendy Goldband, Baltimore Humane Society's director of marketing and public relations.

"We can only function with community support," she said. "Having a close alliance with the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commission is important because they spread the word in the community."

Karen Baker, the Humane Society of Carroll County's director of volunteer and foster services, said the food drive comes at the right time.

"We're taking in a tremendous amount of animals. Within the shelter, we have over 40 dogs and over 175 cats. We also have 25 dogs and over 200 kittens in foster care. We provide all the supplies, litter and food for foster parents. Any drive helps save lives," Baker said.

Baker and Goldband said the shelters will take any brand of food. Community members are also encouraged to donate at the shelters or visit the Public Safety Education Training Center to help out a police unit.

Anyone in financial need is welcome to use the pet food banks. They can come once a month at their convenience during regular operating hours.

"Pets are important parts of people's families," Goldband said. "We don't want to see their owners forced to give them up, and we eventually want to see our shelters empty and out of business."

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How to donate:

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Donations of any brand of dog or cat food, dog and cat treats, Clorox bleach, gently used towels and washcloths, baby wipes, Clorox wipes, Ziplock baggies (all sizes), newspapers (without ads), hand sanitizer, and disposable litter pans can be dropped off at the front desk of the Public Safety Education Training Center, 6852 4th Street, Sykesville. Donations can also be made at the Humane Society of Carroll County, 2517 Littlestown Pike, Westminster or the Baltimore Humane Society, 1601 Nicodemus Road, Reisterstown.

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