America’s food stamp epidemic is well-documented. At the government level, the focus is obviously on creating programs that help feed humans — but what about pets? What happens to those animals with owners who simply can’t afford to pay for expensive cuisine?

Alas, there’s a solution. A new program called Pet Food Stamps has launched, an initiative aimed at using private donations to help those who cannot afford nutrients for their furry friends. The organization assists low-income Americans who are already struggling and potentially relying upon government assistance to put food on their tables.

Naturally, many would argue that those who cannot afford to feed themselves probably shouldn’t have pets. Still, others would counter that circumstances change and that people sometimes find themselves newly poor and in need or assistance.

Either way, the Pet Food Stamps program is an intriguing concept.

Pet Food Stamps Program Launches to Help Low Income Americans Afford Animal Nutrients

Screen shot from PetFoodStamps.org

Already, more than 45,000 pets have been signed up — and that’s only in the first two week’s of the program’s opening. Based in New York, Pet Food Stamps is available for any family in the U.S. Once verified, recipients will receive pet food for a six-month period from Pet Food Direct.

Unlike government-funded food programs, Pet Food Stamps are doled out through private donations — although the potential for public assistance and partnerships may arise in the future.

“We’re not looking for government funding at this point,” explained Pet Food Stamps founder and executive director Marc Okon. “Should the government be willing to provide assistance further down the line, we will look into it.”

Those interested in the program can apply through an online application on the organization’s web site. With 46.6 million Americans relying upon actual food stamps in 2012, it will be interesting to see how many people sign up for this private opportunity for pet food.

(H/T: Christian Post)