By Angela Musallam

SACRAMENTO COUNTY (CBS13) — An online petition is gaining national attention after the author called for pet food to be included in food-stamp benefits.

Nearly 4.5 million people in California rely on food stamps each year. Nationwide, it’s 40 million people.

“Yee-haw! I’d love it, I really would, ’cause she makes it on $10 a month,” said Renee, who is homeless.

It’s a monthly struggle for Renee to come up with enough money to feed herself and her dog Brownie.

Barely getting by, Renee gets food stamps and says they’re only good for about two weeks of food.

“We don’t have any money left,” cried Renee.

And she isn’t the only one.

An online petition is gaining national attention. The author is calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to add pet food to food stamp benefits.

A USDA spokesman says “nonfood items such as pet foods are ineligible for purchase with snap benefits under current federal law.” The spokesman added, any changes will have to come from Congress.

But low-income pet owners in Sacramento County can receive assistance. The county’s animal shelter has been running a food pantry since 2009.

“If we ask them if we were able to give you some assistance and food, would that be the difference between you keeping or surrendering your pet? And the if the answer is yes, we help them,” said Janna Haynes, a spokeswoman for the shelter.

The food is donated by the public and has helped many house pets from ending up in the shelter.

But some argue if you’re having a hard time supporting yourself, you shouldn’t have a pet in the first place.

“They can’t feed them, take care of them, it’s all outta hand,” said one critic of the petition.


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