You're not the only one! I wish my dad would let me set up feeders in our yard for birds & squirrels. Occasionally he'll put out a corn-holder feeder for the squirrels, but not for long. I'm sure Pat will love the extra help.
IMO, the main issues come when people are feeding potentially dangerous animals (bears, deer, moose), feeding waterfowl late in the season (which encourages them to winter over, but then people often don't go out to feed the ducks in the winter because of the weather, so they have a hard time), or if they're actively trying to acclimate the animal to themselves. I think I remember reading something about how if you're putting out food for songbirds, they still keep plenty of other food sources available. So if you do remove the feeders, they can adjust pretty quickly. I would guess it's the same for other wildlife, so it's not like you're causing them to be dependent.
Oh! And I just thought of this - if you're willing & have something you can use, another thing that you could do that would likely be a huge help to all of your backyard wildlife is have a water station available throughout the winter.
Many people put out food, but don't realize that water is just as or more important, and also tends to be quite hard to find when it all freezes.