The American economy has been struggling for five years now, and many families have been forced to give up their pets because the expense of dog food is simply too much. A new nonprofit organization based in New York seeks to extend help to families struggling to feed their pets through a familiar method: food stamps. However, these food stamps are not funded by the government, but through private donation from individuals and corporations:
The Pet Food Stamps program. . .has been created to fill the void in the United States Food Stamp program which excludes the purchase of pet food and pet supplies. . . . 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.” 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
Founder Marc Okon, interviewed in the video above, seems to have a very good handle on what the program can do (ignore the political stuff), and he recognizes how important a dog can be to a family’s psychological well being.