Viral petition seeks to include pet food in food stamps

(Public Domain Pictures | Marc Dalmulder / CC BY 2.0)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) - An online petition to include pet food in SNAP benefits is getting a lot of traction.

The petition on Care2 has more than 88,500 supports as of Monday morning.

According to the website, the petition was created by Edward B. Johnston Jr., who wrote that he’s been on SNAP benefits for a few months and hasn’t been able to feed his dog due to government regulations.

Here is the full petition:

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.
I am one of those Americans. I have only been on SNAP benefits for a few months, but I have been unable to feed my little dog due to government regulations.
Please sign this petition if you think SNAP benefits should extend nutrition assistance to include pet food!
Some argue that people should not keep pets if they cannot afford them, but the fact is that an individual or family's financial status can change at any time. Should someone be forced to give up a pet they've had for years just because they hit a financial rough patch? Or should they be able to utilize federal aid to continue feeding their pet?
Pets are also important for emotional support. Being poor is hard enough without being expected to give up your companion. For most people, pets are considered family, not property.
Please sign this petition, and together let's urge the USDA to expand SNAP benefits to include pet food.

Eligible items that may be purchased with SNAP benefits are determined on a federal level by USDA.

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