Owners of Hungry Pets Can Now Turn to Pet Food Stamps

Pet food stamps
As many unemployed Americans have found, putting food on the table without a regular paycheck can be a challenge, which is why so many of them have come to rely on food stamps.

But what about their pets? There is no federal program to help feed dogs, cats or other animals kept as household pets, but one enterprising entrepreneur has stepped in to fill the void by creating Pet Food Stamps, as The Wall Street Journal reports.

Started by Marc Okon in February, the program is available to people who are already on government assistance. Okon said he was inspired to start the program after a friend in his old New York City neighborhood fell on hard times.

"She told me she sometimes fed her cat before herself," the newspaper quotes Okon as saying.

Regardless of the reasons -- job loss, home foreclosure or health problems -- the need is real. Though some 47 million Americans receive food stamps, the benefit cannot be used to purchase pet food, which frequently results in pet owners having to give up their cherished animals.

As Okon told the Journal, "Millions of pets are surrendered to shelters each year and euthanized because their owners can't afford to feed them."

Okon says his small nonprofit, which employs about a dozen people, has received more applications for aid than it can readily process. As CBS News reports, the organization has received more than to 160,000 applications from needy families across the country.

The program is a lifeline for pet owners such as Marissa Jenkins. The Salem, Ore.-resident considers her 6-year-old Dachshund, Olivia, a part of the family.

"She's a kid to us," says Jenkins, a new mother whose husband lost his job in December. Jenkins is grateful for the help she's received from Pet Food Stamps and told CBS News that once the couple is back on their feet, they will donate to the program to help other needy families feed their pets.

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Jeannine Schreckhise

I have Google how to get help feeding my pets while im in financial trouble. I resently lost my job after 10 years.im struggling to feed them that I dont eat myself.and find harder to fuel my car to find work when they look up at me with those baby blues.I have dog and cats.and last mo I rescued a mom and dad cat that was expecting so she could have her kids and not be put down waiting for them to be of weight to go to new homes they are killing the budget and cant get litter to teach them I barely can feed I pawned my tv for animal food. Facing my own eviction im hanging on for them.I am single with no family of my own my sole purpose has been to work and care for them got bigger home with yard more money but it was for them
now im facing losing it all with no where to go if I could get help to feed them I would have better chance to afford gas for work to climb out of this hole.web site says people can get help but dont say how or where only how to donate my phone is 3169777130

December 02 2014 at 2:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lizzie Riley

It's a scam. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pet-Food-Stamps-Scam/146564292181583 It's happening to a lot of people.

September 26 2013 at 5:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I applied more than 4 months ago and have heard nothing. I am worried since I sent in personal information, so I emailed Pet Food Stamps twice and have heard NOTHING back, not even a response saying they are backed up. I am convinced this is a scam, that Marc Okon has stolen all the grant money. I am disgusted.

August 26 2013 at 3:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike Martino

7 months and no one is getting anything..you cant ask how much was donated you cant ask what was spent you cant even ask what the budget is for a 1 dog house hold..threats of black-listing are being used threats of violence are posted against people asking for accountability. Petflow.com the only distributor to maybe 200 thousand recipients says that they aren't servicing any petfoodstamps clients 1-888-316-7297 call them they will tell you that they haven't sent anything to any one ever

August 05 2013 at 6:05 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Marion Mae Johnson

My buddy Oliveranthony will be able to eat properly. There was a time not long ago when spending $425.00 at the vet was nothing....now I will be able to get his shots upddated at the monthly clinic. We have been homeless for over a year as we have fallen on difficult times as so many others. May God richly bless you...Amen

June 09 2013 at 7:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

One more thought people have kids (which truth be told they cant afford them either)but people apply for government assistance. So why not apply for assistance. for your pet?

May 24 2013 at 3:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think the idea is wonderful! I am a pet owner and I love my dog a lot. We considered her apart of our family. It's good to know there's a program out there that care about my pet.

May 24 2013 at 3:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

is it not fair that the disable poor people can have a pet? thay have so very little already
if the usa had not take the money , and keep up with the riseing prices.
these people would not need help for there pets.

May 03 2013 at 2:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The sad thing is 8 emails to them with email address and a phone number of someone who could have used their help and they NEVER got back to them from what I undrerstand this has happen to many ppl

May 03 2013 at 2:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Pet food stamp,not me. Me and my go hunting for squirrels and my dog love`em.Best part , my dogs like to eat the squirresls nuts.

May 03 2013 at 12:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply