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Can’t Afford to Feed Your Furry Friend? Pet Food Stamps are Here to Help

Can’t Afford to Feed Your Furry Friend? Pet Food Stamps are Here to Help

If you’ve never been on food stamps (or SNAP, as it’s now called), you might be surprised at just how many restrictions there are on their use. You can buy fresh and packaged foods, but not pre-cooked foods from the deli. You can buy seeds and plants for your home garden. You can’t buy alcohol, tobacco, personal care products, or even vitamins. And you definitely can’t buy food for your pet.

That’s a problem for families who adopt a pet, only to be hit with unexpected financial difficulties later down the road. Pets are easily a 10-20 year commitment, and a lot can happen over the course of a decade, including the loss of a job or the death of a spouse.

We don’t expect parents with a low income to choose between feeding their children and handing them over the to the state. So why should families who have bonded with a pet have to make the choice between feeding their pet and giving it away — especially when there are so many homeless pets in the world already?

That’s where the new nonprofit Pet Food Stamps comes in. This New York-based organization is not affiliated with the government, and runs completely on donations, providing free pet food to families who can prove they’re already receiving state benefits. Their goal is as ambitious as it is simple: to help families who might otherwise have to surrender their cat or dog to a shelter, and prevent pets who can’t be re-homed from being euthanized.

U.S. residents receiving food stamps, welfare or social security as their sole source of income are allowed to apply, and may be eligible to receive food for multiple pets, depending on their situation. Even pets with special dietary needs can receive free food — the available brands include hypoallergenic, calorie control and prescription chow.

So far, the program only covers dogs and cats, but will hopefully start providing food for other animals soon. Applying for benefits is quick and simple, but because of the high demand, it may take up to 8 weeks to receive a response. So far around 200,000 people have already applied for the program.

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Photo credit: Thinkstock

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195 comments

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7:28PM PDT on Aug 26, 2014

What a fantastic idea!

6:19PM PDT on Jul 13, 2014

noted

5:59PM PDT on Jul 13, 2014

its a scam i signed up for pet food stamps over 1 yr ago and didnt even get an email telling me i was approved or not even one stating they got my info hell never got shit

1:17AM PST on Feb 4, 2014

I wish they could do something like this in the UK

1:43PM PST on Jan 9, 2014

finishing my comment, yeah I'm long-winded:
PFS is far from perfect, you only need go to their FB page and read comments to see that. I feel that they do need better communication with applicants, no one should have to wait close to a year at this point (PFS started last February), from my background in customer service and working in lawfirms I can say that lack of communication would have cost me my job. That said, I don't know who or how many people PFS actually has.

There's an interview on YouTube with the founder of PFS, it's Channel 300 or 3000 (can't remember which right now). May or may not answer questions/concerns, but I'd say give it a watch.

1:39PM PST on Jan 9, 2014

I have an update from my October 5 posting (which I'd forgotten I'd written).

I have received a 15lb bag of Natural Balance cat food for my ESA cat, it was in November. Yes I was surprised, very gratefully and happily so, though with some guilt that I had received the food knowing there are so many who hadn't and haven't. Can't help that, that's just who I am. I hope that it will not be a one-time thing (time and funding will tell) and I hope that everyone who has applied will be contacted and will get even some assistance. Our pets are our family, for many of us our only family. They are also helpers - service trained dogs, cats, etc., in my case my doctor has stated and will state in writing that my cat is officially my emotional support animal (ESA) as without his companionship and my responsibility to care for him, to get myself up on particularly bad days between physical and mental/emotional disabilities, to make sure he has food, fresh water and a clean box and just the knowing that this little one does depend on me for shelter, food, water, attention; all the things all of us need whether 2 legged, 4 legged, finned, scaled, whatever. Without him there is more than a chance that I would not be here.

PFS is far from perfect, you only need go to their FB page and read comments to see that. I feel that they do need better communication with applicants, no one should have to wait close to a year at this point (PFS started last February), from my background i

2:50PM PST on Nov 18, 2013

My advice to all who are coming here to complain about this organization is to file a criminal complaint. The more people that file with your State A. G. . The more likely that an investigation will be launched. I wish you all the best of luck and hope that you are successful in pursuit of this issue.

12:59PM PST on Nov 18, 2013

This was a samfrom the get go. It appears MarkOkpn wanted a person's personal informatin to sell it and wanted people to donate so he and his brother Eric could abscound with the money and info. One of r members has contacted ABC. It is are supposed to be investigating this scam, but no update as to how investigatio is going or if even being investigated. The domain is up for sale and the website is no longer active, plus when you call the 845 number all you get is a recording asking tht you leave a message and someone will call you back, which never happens. These people need to be investigated and brought to justice. I am contacting Arizona State's Office of Consumer Fraud as well as the Federal Office. Everyone who has been scammed by these people needs to contact the State Consumer Fraud Office and the Federal Consumer Fraud Office and filea complaint. If these offices receive enough complaints maybe, just maybe, they wil take action against him. Everyone who sent him their personal information has to know what he did with it. These people played on people' emotions and needs and then flew the coop. Any TV station that interviewed or gave news about Pet Food Stamps need to be contacted and told to investigate this scam. They were taken in by him also. I can not find where any TV station vetted him and just reported on his charity or interviewed him. Those who donated need to demand that their donations needs to be returned.

7:29PM PST on Nov 7, 2013

I signed up in Feb & received a call on May 18 saying that they had received my paperwork & were processing it. I have heard nothing since. They haven't updated their Facebook page since Sept 3. They aren't even replying to posts, saying that they're a scam, anymore. They don't return phone calls or reply to emails. Legitimate charities don't make people wait 5 months or more before helping them. As far as I'm concerned, this is a scam. Thank goodness my state doesn't put social security numbers on benefit award letters.

10:36AM PDT on Oct 20, 2013

It's become pretty obvious that this is a fraud. Not one soul has received anything from this "program" yet they have personal information on thousands of people. My own warning lights should have signaled me when they demanded a copy of my driver's license or photo ID. What on earth could they need that for? Are they going to gaze through their computer monitors and determine that I'm me? What was I thinking to turn that over to them?!?! I contacted ABC a couple of days ago, since they gave this creep so much publicity, and they are launching an investigation. My concern is what are these creeps doing with all that personal information!

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