Politics
A pug dog stands in the exhibition hall on the final day of the annual Crufts dog show at the National Exhibition Centre on March 13, 2011 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images) A pug dog stands in the exhibition hall on the final day of the annual Crufts dog show at the National Exhibition Centre on March 13, 2011 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)  

Scooby SNAPs: New York organization offers ‘Pet Food Stamps’

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Caroline May
Political Reporter

The number of people in America on food stamps remains at an all-time high, and now a new program is allowing Fido, Garfield and their peers to get in on the goods.

While the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal program administered by the states, Pet Food Stamps is a New York-based nonprofit that helps pet owners who can’t afford to support their animal friends.

“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. 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,” the organization’s website explains.

KRQE-TV13 in Albuquerque, N.M. reports that founder Marc Okon launched the organization two weeks ago, already attracting more than 12,000 requests for assistance.

Okon explained to KVIA-TV7 in Las Cruces, N.M. that he created the program to help those in need feed their pets.

“I received a letter from a woman who is on food stamps,” Okon said. “She lost her job recently. She’s a single mother of a severely disabled young boy, and she said his only companion and his only mode of communication is with the family dog and they’re thinking about getting rid of the dog because they can’t afford to feed it. It’s people like that that this program is aimed to help.”

Applicants who qualify for assistance through the Pet Food Stamps program are helped through the independent retailer PetFoodDirect.

“Once you are a verified and approved member of the Pet Food Stamps program, our staff will place your pet food order with www.PetFoodDirect.com based on the amount awarded with your application approval and your pets needs,” the group’s website reads.

The Associated Press reports that according to census data, New Mexico is one of the nation’s poorest states.

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