SPOKANE, Wash. -- An online petition to include pet food in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is getting traction.
As of Monday evening, the petition already received over 90,000 signatures.
Pets Products Association said food for dogs and cats averages $235 per year. For families going through a rough patch, that may be hard to keep up with. Edward B. Johnston Jr. found himself in that very situation, using SNAP benefits to get by. But since those benefits do not include pet food, he decided to create an online petition to change that.
While it will take action by Congress to add pet food to the SNAP benefits list, there are already local organizations offering support to pet owners. At Spokane Humane Society, SpokAnimal and SCRAPS you can pick up pet food from their very active food banks. Dori Peck with SpokAnimal said they give away about 17,000 pounds of pet food and cat litter every year.
"Sometimes we just have hard times, like we have to buy new tires, unexpected things come up and we're able to jump in and help people sustain that," Peck explained.
She adds the location of SpokAnimal is right along the bus route, making it easy for struggling pet owners to pick up pet food regardless of their transportation.
SCRAPS is also on the bus route and opens its food bank to anyone who needs it. SCRAPS even partners with Meals on Wheels to deliver pet food because they noticed some pet owners sharing their delivered food with their animals.
The key to making these local pet food banks thrive is the overwhelming support of the community that continues to keep their pet food banks full.