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Pet Pantry seeking support for Veterans’ service

Pet Pantry seeking support for Veterans’ service

by Joseph KisselJuly 15, 2015

Pets come into our lives and in the process form two-way bonds of love.

But love won’t put kibble in the bowl — unless Paulette Coty is involved.

She’s the St. Francis of Niagara County, the Mother Theresa of North Tonawanda and Wheatfield’s cats and dog and their welfare.

“I’ve been an animal lover my whole life,” she said. “But I go on with this in the memory of my son Mario who lost a two-year battle with cancer at the age of 42.”

Coty is bringing cat and dog food to veterans, seniors and low-income pet owners all across Niagara County.

In 2012 she started Mario’s Pet Food Panty in Niagara County after belonging to a similar program in Buffalo and realizing the same need existed where she lived.

After delivering tons and tons of pet food to owners in need, though, the program is finding itself in need as well.

Coty went to Wheatfield town hall on Monday asking for space to store and distribute the food.

She was turned down.

Already existing problems with rodents were cited as a concern as well as wether the space would need to be climate controlled.

Currently, Mario’s Pantry is located on Townline Road in Ransomville in a storage shed at the Immaculate Conception Church.

The sealed bags of mostly store-bought food are stored in aluminum trash cans topped with lids. The space is small and is shared with various pieces of gardening equipment and a riding lawn mover.

Coty said she wouldn’t need much more space but a climate-controlled area would be ideal as well as a more central location to distribute the pet food to veterans and seniors.

That’s why she approached the town inquiring as to whether any of their many buildings located throughout Wheatfield could be put to use for her program.

“These buildings were put here for the people,” she said.

While the town said they were not interested in helping the pantry with their desire to upgrade their facilities, they urged Coty to continue reaching out to the town.

“We don’t know if something were to become available,” said Town Supervisor Robert Cliffe.

In the meantime, Coty is seeking donations as well as seeking tax-exempt status as a a non-profit organization.

“There’s a lot of poor areas in Niagara County and we should serve those in need,” Coty said.

There are requirements to being on the program, though.

Veterans must be able to show a military service ID and those in a low-income situation need to show their SNAP card.

Coty cares about the welfare of the animals, too, and she requires an up-to-date shot record as well as rabies certificate and proof of being spayed/neutered.

For more information or to make a donation, call 465-3654.

About The Author
Joseph Kissel
Joseph Kissel is a journalist, editor and photographer. He is also the Vice President of the New York Coalition for Open Government, a non-partisan, non-profit group that advocates for transparency and the public's right to freedom of information.