LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A petition requesting that low-income Americans be allowed to use federal financial assistance towards their pet food expenses is receiving momentous support online.

The petition on the networking site Care2 wants those who receive benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to be able to use that aid to purchase pet food.

“Unfortunately, SNAP benefits cannot be used to buy pet food, leaving poor families with pets in a difficult position,” writes Edward Johnston Jr., who created the petition.

“I am one of those Americans. I have only been on SNAP benefits for a few months, but I have been unable to feed my little dog due to government regulations.”

As of Wednesday morning, the petition has received more than 116,000 online votes of support.

SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, is run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. SNAP can be used to purchase breads, cereals, fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy. However, it cannot be used for alcohol and nonfood items, such as household supplies.

Based on federal data, more than 42 million Americans received SNAP benefits in the 2017 fiscal year, averaging about $125 a month per person. In the 2015 fiscal year, 4.4 million Californians were on SNAP, according to the Public Policy Institute of California.

“Should someone be forced to give up a pet they’ve had for years just because they hit a financial rough patch?” Johnston asks. “Or should they be able to utilize federal aid to continue feeding their pet?”

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