Food stamps go a long way toward putting "a chicken in every pot." Now it's time to put kibble in every bowl, too. Pet food stamps may do just that.
Did you know that federal food stamps cannot be used to purchase pet food or pet supplies? This means a pet parent must often choose between pet food and rent when allocating their limited resources. And, heartrendingly, pets lose.
Financial reversal can happen to anyone and fast. Even the most responsible pet parent can find themselves faced with a choice that would have been unimaginable just six months prior. Long term unemployment, medical expenses, disability, the need to care for an elderly parent, hurricane damage . . . there are many things which can cause a downward financial spiral even for a previously "middle class" family. Financial security is not a character trait. It is a circumstance and circumstances can change.
The need for financial relief is urgent. A recent New York Times article states that “animal shelters have reported a steep rise in the number of cats and dogs being surrendered as owners face unemployment, home foreclosures, evictions and other financial hardships.”
This is not a small problem. According to Pet Food Stamps, there are over 50 million Americans who currently receive federal food stamps, many with dogs or cats, who simply cannot afford to feed their animals.
Knowing that a pet's medical expenses can ruin a family financially, Pet Food Stamps expects to expand its offerings to include free or heavily discounted veterinary care for all qualified beneficiaries as part of its program in the fourth quarter of 2013.
Some other sources of financial help for pet parents (mostly for medical care):
Petco's We are Family, Too.
Humane Society of the United States' Pet Help Partners.
Pet Animal Welfare Society: Resources list
History of the federal food stamp program (for people)