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The Humane Society of Utah is offering free pets to the elderly, according to a news release from the society, which said the program benefits people as well as animals.

"Recent studies indicate that a pet provides older adults with a sense of security, a source of entertainment, a feeling of being needed and useful and unqualified affection," the release said. "The presence of a pet in a senior's life can help reduce stress and lower blood pressure. For the animals, it means life and love for hundreds of dogs and cats who would otherwise have no future."The program is part of a nationwide effort sponsored by Ralston-Purina and covers the cost of adoption fees, spaying or neutering, initial veterinary visits, inoculations, a collar, leash, feeding bowls and a starter supply of pet food.

People 60 years old or older are eligible. For more information, call Diane Johnson at the Humane Society of Utah, 968-3458, extension 204.