Pet Food Stamps Would Let Needy Owners Feed Their Animals

Monday, 25 Feb 2013 07:13 PM

By Michael Mullins

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A New York City-based organization has instituted its own food stamp program, but this one is for pets – actually it's for needy pet owners who could use some help getting food and other supplies for their animal companions.

Currently, nearly 47 million eligible Americans receive government assistance through the food stamps program, now called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, but the money can't be used to purchase pet food.

Now, eligible pet owners may get some relief through the Pet Food Stamps organization which has partnered with the pet service retailer Pet Food Direct and is seeking non-profit status.

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The food would be paid for through private donations and grants, according to the Pet Food Stamps website. Once applicants have been verified and approved by program officials, their pet food requests would then be placed with www.PetFoodDirect.com, which would process the order based on the amount the applicant has been approved for and mail the food to the provided address.

"In these rough economic times, many pet owners are forced to abandon their beloved pet to the ASPCA, North Shore Animal League, or other animal shelters due to the inability to pay for their basic food supply and care," the organization states on its website, noting that SNAP only applies to food purchase for humans.

"There are over 50 million Americans who currently receive food stamps, many with dogs or cats, who simply cannot afford to feed their animals, and these cherished companions are dropped off at animal shelters where they will most likely be put to sleep . . . As more families struggle with difficult choices like paying the rent or buying food, some have to choose between keeping their pet and putting food on the table," said the statement.

The program was started two weeks ago by Marc Okon and has already received more than 12,000 requests, reported ABC affiliate KRQE-TV13.

According to Okon, if you are a pet owner who qualifies for federal assistance you most likely qualify for the Pet Food Stamp program as well.

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"The love of a pet, the therapeutic ability of a pet and things like that are impossible to measure," said. "It gives us a special feeling of pride to be able to help people like that and we're happy to do it."

Related stories:

Obama’s Food Stamp Nation

Potential Food Stamp Cutbacks on Horizon

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