In August 2011, Joy Austin started an online petition to encourage Congress to allow low income pet owners to use a small portion of their food stamps for pet food. While the federal government has not responded, a new non-profit organization based in New York is now offering pet food stamps to individuals and families who are already enrolled in the federal food stamp program for people.
According to the website, "The Pet Food Stamps program, an approved NYS non-profit corporation has been created to fill the void in the United States Food Stamp program which excludes the purchase of pet food and pet supplies. 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. 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. 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.”
How the Program Works
Thanks to generous donations, the Pet Food Stamp program provides free monthly home delivery of cat and dog food to low income pet owners who might otherwise have to surrender their beloved companions to a shelter. Once you are approved as a member of the Food Stamps program, a pet food order is transmitted to PetFlow.com based on the amount awarded from your application and your pet's individual needs. Shipping is entirely free to your home.
PetFLow.com is an independent web-based retailer that has been chosen as the sole provider of pet food for the Pet Food Stamps program. PetFlow.com was chosen due to their ability to offer discounted prices and free home delivery. Their website offers 200 different brands of pet foods.
Applying for Pet Food Stamps
If you are interested in applying for pet food stamps, the online application is quick and easy to complete. The program only requests your name, address, phone number, email address and information about how many pets you have and their dominant breed. Due to the overwhelming response to this new program, it may take up to three weeks to process your application.
Over 40,000 people have already been approved. To qualify for the program you must be a resident of the United States and a current food stamp recipient through the federal food stamp program for people. Pet Food Stamps will require you to send in paperwork to verify your income status.
While you are waiting on your approval, PetFlow.com offers $10 off any $40+ scheduled order with code PFS, plus free shipping on any delivery schedule over $49+ (after discount). You can choose to have your pet's food delivered from every 2 weeks to every 16 weeks and can change, cancel or edit your upcoming deliveries at any time.
How to Donate
As the program grows with more and more donations, Pet Food Stamps is already making plans to expand their program to include free or discounted veterinary care by the 4th quarter of 2013. If you would like to donate to this amazing organization, you can donate online securely by credit card or through PayPal.
Saving Lives and Money
Over $2 billion is spent annually by local governments to shelter and ultimately destroy 8-10 million adoptable dogs and cats according to a 1999 report from Business Wire Features. In the years since then, those number have continued to climb. According to the Doris Day Animal League, "On average, it costs approximately $100 to capture, house, feed and eventually kill a homeless animal - a cost that ultimately comes out of all our pockets." Thanks to the Pet Food Stamps program, the number of adoptable pets killed in shelters should finally start coming down, and with it, the cost to local governments for animal control services.