Nonprofit provides 'food stamps' for pets

NEW YORK — While the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program helps to keep some 50 million low-income Americans from going hungry, it excludes pet food, forcing many to give up their nonhuman family members. But a new program aims to alleviate the problem.

The Pet Food Stamps Program is a nonprofit group in New York that has a partnership with online pet products retailer PetFlow.com, whereby beneficiaries can receive a monthly home delivery of supplies for free.

In the fourth quarter of this year, the organization also plans to offer free or heavily discounted veterinary care for all qualified program beneficiaries as part of the program.

The New York Times has reported that unemployment, home foreclosures, evictions and other financial hardships have caused a sharp rise in the number of cats and dogs being surrendered to animal shelters, and Pet Food Stamps noted that most such animals will be put to sleep.