Bills introduced in Maryland aim to increase spay-neuter funding
Del. Barbara Frush and Sen. Joanne Benson introduced the bills, based on the recommendations of a task force appointed by Gov. Martin O’Malley to study animal euthanasia.
The bills would generate funding for the program from a surcharge on existing manufacturer pet food registration fees, a funding source recommended by the task force as reliable, sustainable and fair — and used for a similar program in Maine.
The task force found that 96,000 pets enter Maryland shelters yearly, and more than 45,000 homeless cats and dogs are euthanized each year at an estimated cost of $8 to $9 million taxpayer dollars — about $175-$200 per animal.
The task force also found that cost is a significant barrier for low-income pet owners in having their pets sterilized, and that reaching under-served populations is the most effective way to reduce intake and euthanasia rates in shelters.
“Over the last 18 months, our task force studied spay/neuter programs from around the country, and we have identified the model that will work best for the State of Maryland, said Del. Frush, D-Anne Arundel, who co-chaired the task force. “The Maryland spay/neuter program has the potential to be one of the best in the nation and I am thrilled to introduce H.B. 767 which will help save the lives of so many animals.”
“Increasing spay/neuter services in Maryland not only saves lives, it also saves money,” said Sen. Benson, D-Prince George County. “Municipal animal control agencies spend millions of dollars each year on intake, housing, and euthanizing cats and dogs. Marylanders want to see their taxpayer dollars used for programs that are humane and that work.”
The Humane Society of the United States praised the proposed legislation.
“States that have implemented comprehensive spay/neuter programs have seen a substantial decrease in the number of animals entering shelters and being euthanized,” said Tami Santelli, Maryland state director for The HSUS.
Carolyn Kilborn, chair of Maryland Votes for Animals, said, ”It is time for Maryland to replace the current antiquated system of mass euthanasia with a statewide fund to support spay/neuter services. This bill is crucial to reducing Maryland’s unacceptably high euthanasia rate.”
S.B. 820 has 14 sponsors in the Senate and H.B. 767 has 56 sponsors in the House of Delegates. The bills are supported by a broad coalition of animal shelters, animal control agencies, animal protection organizations, veterinarians, businesses and individuals.
To learn more, or sign a petition in support of the proposal, visit SaveMarylandPets.org.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 11th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bills, cats, dogs, euthanasia, general assembly, hsus, humane society of the united states, introduced, legislation, maryland, maryland votes for animals, neuter, overpopulation, pets, proposal, shelters, spay