A new petition is urging the federal government to include pet food in the benefits of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

More than 40 million low-or-no income people in the United States rely on SNAP each year to purchase food for themselves and their families. In Colorado, more than 450,000 people participate in the assistance program.

However, it cannot be used to buy pet food.

The creator of the online petition, Edward B. Johnston Jr., wrote on the Care2 site that he has been on SNAP benefits for a few months and has been unable to feed his dog due to the government regulations.

The petition states:

Some argue that people should not keep pets if they cannot afford them, but the fact is that an individual or family's financial status can change at any time. Should someone be forced to give up a pet they've had for years just because they hit a financial rough patch? Or should they be able to utilize federal aid to continue feeding their pet?

Johnston Jr. also wrote that pets are important for emotional support.

According to the petition, “being poor is hard enough without being expected to give up your companion. For most people, pets are considered family, not property.”

One supporter, Julia from Ohio, signed the petition and wrote, “My pets are a part of my family. Their food is important as my children’s food.”

According to the online page, the goal is to reach 90,000 signatures. As of Monday morning, the number of supporters is over 89,000.

You can see the petition here: http://bit.ly/2nhsQyb.