Some of the best things that owning a dog or a cat can bring include unconditional love and companionship. But pets also bring their share of expenses, including food, vaccinations and, of course, the cost of spaying or neutering. The NCDA&CS Animal Welfare Section helps encourage responsible pet ownership by offering a spay and neuter reimbursement program for low-income residents.
The Spay/Neuter Program reimburses counties and municipalities for direct cost of spay/neuter procedures performed on dogs and cats owned by low-income individuals. In 2016, funds paid for 4,864 procedures in more than 30 counties. A portion of funding for the program also goes towards education and outreach on the importance of spay/neuter.
“This helps residents obtain the benefits of pet ownership as well as benefiting the municipality that is often shouldered with the economic, health and humane expenses in the absence of spay and neuter activity,” said Brad Porterfield, administrative officer with the Animal Welfare Section. “Just one pair of unaltered dogs and cats can add to the pet population in a short time. An unspayed dog, her mate and her offspring can produce up to 67,000 puppies in six years. An unspayed cat, her mate and her offspring could produce more than 97,000 kittens in 10 years. We know that spaying and neutering is an effective way to reduce the number of animals going into the shelters.”
Other benefits of spay/neuter include preventing unwanted behaviors such as roaming and marking, minimizing or eliminating the risk of some cancers and reducing aggression in some dogs. Also, it is cheaper to spay/neuter an animal than to house a litter of puppies or kittens in a shelter. Nationally, an estimated 3 million to 4 million animals are euthanized in shelters each year. In North Carolina, shelters reported 93,509 dogs and cats euthanized in 2016.
You can help with the spay/neuter program by purchasing an Animal Lovers I Care license plate. Twenty dollars (two-thirds the cost of the plate) from the sale or renewal of each plate goes to the Spay/Neuter Program. Last year, the program reimbursed counties $307,762 for spay/neuter procedures, a significant portion of the funding came from license plate sales or renewals.
For more information on low-cost spay/neuter options, call 1-888-NC-FIX-EM (1-888-623-4936) or visit https://animalkind.org/programs/spaync-helpline/.