CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) --Pets are considered to be part of the family, but what if you fall on hard times and can't provide for your four-legged buddy? Is saying goodbye the only option?
A program based out of New York has opened a food stamp program for pets that is available to anyone in the United States.
Pet Food Stamps are available to anyone in the country who is currently receiving food stamps, or is around or below the poverty line. The program provides support to pet owners for six months.
“I really think that a program that's charitable and donation-based for food stamps for pets is a wonderful idea; so that people can stay united with their pet,” said dog owner Kate Edwards.
“I believe if a person cannot afford a pet, they shouldn't have a pet; if you can't properly take care of it,” said dog owner, Herald Aamodt.
The Chippewa County Humane Association sees between two and four pets surrendered every week because their owner can no longer afford them.
"It is an expensive thing to have a pet, if you think about having shots, and exams and food; and all the things that come with them,” said Chippewa County Shelter Director, Molly Gazella-Baranzzyk.
“If they can't take care of it should go to a dog pound, or someplace where they can take care of it, and can find a happy home for it, hopefully some place,” said Aamodt.
“Surrendering for people is often a difficult choice, and people usually use us as a last resort, so they try to find any other resource that they can,” said Gazelle-Baranzzyk.
"I think that everybody that wants to have a pet should be able to have a pet. And I think it is very unfortunate that pets are very expensive these days, because they are essential therapy for a lot of people,” said Edwards.
Chippewa Humane Association says pet expenses constantly change, so what you could afford for your pet today, you might not be able tomorrow.
“A pet can only cost you 100 dollars one year, and a thousand dollars the next. And that is sometimes hard for people to understand,” said Gazelle-Baranzzyk.
“I would do anything I needed to do to keep my pet happy and healthy, and keep her with me,” said Edwards.
If you would like food assistance for your pet or are interested in donating to the program visit petfoodstamps.org