FLINT, Mich. – An online petition asking for government food benefits to be extended to pets is creating quite a bit of buzz.
It asks the federal government to allow people receiving food stamps, now called SNAP benefits, to be able to buy food for the pets.
“You know, they were part of the family before hard times and they are on hard times, they are part of the family,” Jason Booth said, of Swartz Creek.
Family: That’s how Booth views his dog Teddy. That means making sure Teddy has enough to eat.
“We go through a 40-pound bag (of dog food) a month,” Booth said.
The cost of a 40-pound bag of dog food each month can add up.
Booth is able to afford it but said it could create a hardship for someone who is struggling.
That’s why he wouldn’t have a problem with someone receiving food stamps to use some of it to buy pet food.
“I agree, I mean that would be a tough decision to make. Think if it’s possible to keep him and use food stamps, I think that would be great,” Booth said.
He’s not alone.
Nearly 120,000 people across the country have signed a petition to make dog and cat food eligible for food stamps.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides help buying food for 40 million low-income families.
An online petition is asking the USDA to include pet food in the program.
“I think if you have pets and you have food stamps, food is food and your pets are part of your responsibility,” Andrew Odette of Clio said.
Gina Smeja of Grand Blanc has two dogs of her own. She even carries dog and cat food with her to hand out to people in need.
But she doesn’t like the idea using food stamps to buy pet food. She said she believes there has to be a better way to help.
“There’s other ways they could come up with,” Smeja said. “That way they are not spending food that they actually need for their families themselves, but have something for the pets — like legislation of some kind that we can have that are homeless.”
Some argue that people shouldn’t keep their pets if can’t afford them.