Non-profit provides "food stamps" for pets

SALEM, Ore. (CBS News) - Tough economic times in recent years have led to heartbreaking decisions for many pet owners. But now, there may be more help on the way.

Marissa Jenkins' 6-year-old Dachshund, Olivia, is more than a dog.

"She's been part of our family, she's definitely not a dog," Jenkins said. "She's a kid to us."

Recently, the Salem, Ore., family welcomed a new addition - and a new challenge.

"My husband lost his job in February and we just had a baby in December, and so all the costs of having a baby and a dog and a family is adding up," she said.

Now on food stamps, they turned to a non-profit for help to feed their dog because food stamps cannot be used for pet food.

Launched in February, Pet Food Stamps has received over to 160,000 applications from needy families across the country. Marc Okon is the charity's founder.

"Hundreds of thousands of pets a year are put to sleep, simply because the owners can't feed them," Okon said.

Okon says dog and cat owners on public assistance are eligible. He's partnered with a company called Pet Flow to provide free delivery.

" It was a relief for us that we were able to get some help for our dog and because we couldn't provide for her, somebody else could," Jenkins said, wiping away tears.

While Marissa is grateful for the free pet food, there's an even more valuable benefit.

"We wanted our child to be able to grow up with animals and our dog is really great with her," she said.

Once back on their feet, the Jenkins say they will donate to the program to help other families in need.
© 2013 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Join the Conversation!

To comment, the following rules must be followed:

  • No Obscenity, Profanity, Vulgarity, Racism or Violent Descriptions
  • No Negative Community Comparisons
  • No Fighting, Name-calling, or Personal Attacks
  • Multiple Accounts are Not Allowed
  • Stay on Story Topic

Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content, but the station is under no legal obligation to do so.
If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.

Multiple violations may result in account suspension.
Decisions to suspend or unsuspend accounts are made by Station Moderators.
Links require admin approval before posting.
Questions may be sent to webmaster@wvlt-tv.com. Please provide detailed information.

powered by Disqus

WVLT VOLUNTEER TV

6450 Papermill Drive Knoxville, TN 37919 Phone - (865) 450-8888; Fax - (865) 450-8869
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2014 WVLT-TV Inc. - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 205249461 - local8now.com/a?a=205249461