Alabama residents join pet food stamp fight

dog eating

A viral new petition is asking the federal government to extend food stamp benefits to pet food, and Alabamians are getting in on the action.

Edward B Johnston Jr. is petitioning the Food and Nutrition Service – U.S. Department of Agriculture to extend Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits (formerly known as food stamps) to pets. He said he has personally only been receiving SNAP benefits for a few months, but has been unable to feed his dog due to the government regulations — hence the need for the petition.

Under the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, households cannot use  benefits to buy pet food, according to the USDA.

The Care2 petition, called “Don’t Let Pets Starve – Include Pet Food in SNAP Benefits!,” has already reached more than 101,000 signature, past its 90,000 goal.

The petition reads:

“Each year, over 40 million low- or no-income people in the United States rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to help purchase food for themselves and their families. It is the most wide-reaching program in the domestic hunger safety net, helping keep millions of families from starving.

But what about their pets? Unfortunately, SNAP benefits cannot be used to buy pet food, leaving poor families with pets in a difficult position. “

The petition also argues a family’s financial status can change at any moment, so pet owners should not be forced to give up their animals simply just because they can’t afford them.

“Should someone be forced to give up a pet they’ve had for years just because they hit a financial rough patch?” the petition reads.

Alabama’s Austyn P. agrees. “Pets are just as important as children and people!!! They have feelings and get hungry to!!! I think this is a great thing!!” she wrote.

Other Alabamians who have commented on the petition said they treat their pets as children and that they also deserve to eat.

“My dogs are a part of my family not only do I treat them as my children but I cook most of their meals which means rather than buy enough for just myself I have to buy enough for them as well, two extra mouth to feed,” posted Alabama signer Kimberly K.

“Because every life deserves to have food,” said Alabama supporter Betty T.

Meanwhile other Alabamians aren’t so keen on the idea.

“This has got to be a joke…Animals on Food Stamps. If this is proposed, this entity will be very embarrassed,” posted one Alabama signer.