Twisted Oaks Rescue keeps pets, and owners together: Low-cost spay, neuter program reduces animals taken to shelters – Clay Today Online

By Kylie Cordell
For Clay Today

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – Twisted Oaks Rescue spayed and neutered 15 local pets, as well as fed 350 dogs and cats during its drive-by Pet Food Pantry on Saturday, Nov. 19.

“Part of our mission is feeding pets in crisis, so people who find themselves in crisis automatically qualify for free pet food,” said founder Jessie Heckels. “We distribute it as it comes available so there is no guarantee on the brand or size of food when we do distributions, but we try to make sure that everyone gets something.”

The rescue opened Loki’s Lunchbox, a Pet Food Pantry, in 2020 as a one-stop shop for many pet needs.

“In the pandemic, I noticed they were doing a lot of ‘people food’ distributions, but not a lot for pets, so I started couponing dog and cat food and giving it away, and it developed until a tremendous need in the community,” Heckles said.

Twisted Oaks Rescue now has a permanent home at 7637 El Dorado Ave. When the Pet Pantry is open for business, cars are usually parked down the street, and up to three hours in advance of opening said.

“We typically feed 150 families a month and the typical family has seven pets, so it’s something like a thousand in some animals that we feed in the lake area per month,” she said.

Although delivering pet food and supplies is a large part of Twisted Oaks’ Mission, Heckels said education has to be the No. 1 goal.

“Spay and neuter are super important to our mission because overpopulation in the home is the number one reason why people show up for food. That’s kind of the caveat to giving food away; you also must provide additional resources, not just food. The food is a great resource, but it is a band-aid for a bigger problem,” she said.

Heckels works with many organizations to provide free spay and neuter resources to the community including Sheltering hands, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of cats through humane care, spay/neuter, adoptions, education and support services, as well as Fix Them All.

“Fix Them All is a 501 (c) organization in Gainesville. It a group of volunteers whose mission is to spay and neuter. They get local vets to join their program to help people get their pets spayed and neutered. That’s the program that we run here, through Fix Them All,” Heckels said.



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