Mississippi man starts petition to include pets in food stamp program

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A new petition circulating online is sparking a heated debate.

Currently, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, that many call SNAP, helps more than 40 millions low or no-income families buy food.

The online petition is asking the federal government to include pet food in the program, something that has never been included before.

The Mississippi man who started the petition says, "Being poor is hard enough without being expected to give up your companion. For most people, pets are considered family not property."

More than 100,000 people have signed the petition.

Pet owner Raymond Moore says he agrees with the petition.

"He eats what I eat when I eat it. If SNAP would help us both, I would appreciate it. Most other people would also," he said.

But not everyone is convinced.

"Food should be for people, not animals. If you cannot afford to take care of your animal, you don't need one," James Moore said. "The government put that in place in the 60's for us, not animals."

The petition's goal is to get the matter sent before the USDA.

Even if they sign off on it, Congress would have to agree to the changes as well