Food stamps for pets is a real thing but it’s not a government program. Instead, it’s the result of one man’s desire to help with what he sees as a major problem.
In February, businessman Marc Okon set up a privately funded non-profit organization that helps families already on government assistance with feeding their pets.
Pet Food Stamps looks to fill the void that is left in the food stamp program which excludes the purchase of pet food or supplies. Via PFS’s official website:
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. Seven million pets are surrendered to shelters each year due to the inability of pet parents to pay for food, with four million of those pets put to sleep. The Pet Food Stamps program aims to eliminate the needless death of these loving pets and keep families together.
Here’s a report on the program via FOX 45:
Okon has a staff of about a dozen people who now find themselves overwhelmed with the over 160,000 applications for help they’ve received. “I just heard from a lady in North Carolina who has an autistic son whose only companion is a Jack Russell Terrier. It’s cookie-cutter sadness. … Little details change but the gist of each story is the same,” Okon said.
Currently the site informs applicants that it takes approximately 6 weeks for them to respond.