Food Stamps For Pets Help Low Income Families Feed Their Critters

By Staff Reporter on February 26, 2013 10:50 AM EST

puppies
Pet Food Stamps help low-income families provide for their pets (Photo: Creative Commons)

An all-new food stamps for pets program has just been announced by a donation-based outfit simply named Pet Food Stamps. The program is aimed to offer vouchers to low-income families that otherwise could not afford to provide their pets with the proper nourishment they deserve.

Founded by executive director Marc Okon, who is based in New York, the program has already garnered more than 45,000 pet registrations for the program in just the last two weeks. The registration process will verify the owners' income as well as the needs of the pet. Approved families stand to receive food from retailer Pet Food Direct each month for a total of six-months.

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"We're not looking for government funding at this point," said Marc Okon. "Should the government be willing to provide assistance further down the line, we will look into it."

To get a sense of just how new the program is, Pet Food Stamps will only accept registrations online at this point as it has yet to move into its office for a proper mailing address. Also, Okon said Pet Food Stamps' nonprofit status remains pending.

While the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal, and Plant Health Inspection Service protects animals in case of emergencies or natural disasters, the agency does not issue a pet food stamp program. The 1966 Animal Welfare Act does not propose food and care for pets either.

Providing needy families with access to food for pets is nothing novel. Animal shelters have provided food banks and discount pet care for many years.

That said, Marc Okon's Pet Food Stamps was founded during a time when monthly food stamp assistance was at risk to be phased out. A food stamp boost was approved in April 2009 in response to the deep recession in 2008. However, the boost will expire by Oct. 31, 2013.

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