The Spay/Neuter Fund legislation was filed in the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates by Senator Joanne Benson and Delegate Barbara Frush, Co-chairs of the Spay/Neuter Task Force. There are 14 sponsors in the Senate and 56 sponsors in the House of Delegates: This is terrific news!
S.B.820/H.B.767 provides the most humane and fiscally responsible solution to the tragic cycle of homeless pet intake, confinement, and euthanasia in Maryland.
S.B.820 was heard in the Senate Committee on March 5th, and H.B.767 was heard on February 21st in the House Committee and is under consideration with amendment by Committees. Senate Committee voted favorably 3/15/13 and House Committee voted favorably on 3/7/13. The bill has been voted on in both the full Senate and full House, clearing the last major hurdle before final steps and going to Gov. Martin O’Malley for his expected signature. In the House - Third Reading with amendments - Passed on 3/18/13. Full House voted in favor 113 to 23. In the Senate - Third Reading with amendments - Passed 3/21/13, voted 46 to 1 in favor.
The purpose of the Spay/Neuter Fund bill is to reduce shelter overpopulation and cat and dog euthanasia rates through the provision of additional sterilization surgeries. The amended bill supports spay/neuter services through competitive grants to government agencies and animal welfare organizations. Reaching underserved populations is proven to be the most effective way to increase sterilizations and decrease shelter populations and euthanasia rates, saving lives and saving money.
The bills establish a fund to support spay/neuter services through a fee on existing registrations collected by the Department of Agriculture from manufacturers of pet food sold in the state. The U.S. pet food industry is a $20 billion dollar industry with excellent sales projections for future years. The task force determined that this funding source is stable, even in economic downturns, and would be able to support a program that would have a significant impact on Maryland's euthanasia rate. The amended bill provides for a phased-in fee structure over a period of 3 years.
The Spay/Neuter program will help reduce the number of homeless cats and dogs in Maryland, and will reduce Maryland's intake and euthanasia rates in our shelters. This is the humane and fiscally responsible solution to the homeless pet and euthanasia problem in Maryland.
Why is the legislation needed?
1) 96,000 cats, kittens, puppies, and dogs enter Maryland shelters each year, and 45,000 of them are destroyed every year.
2) This costs Maryland taxpayers $8 to $9 million dollars every year.
3) The task force reported shelters are overwhelmed, and there is an unnecessary loss of animal life due to shelter overpopulation in Maryland.
4) There is a humane and fiscally responsible solution to this tragedy.
What can you do to help be part of the Solution?
Send a letter to your legislator asking them to support the spay/neuter legislation SB820/HB767.
Join the Coalition that is helping save lives and money in Maryland!
Be a Hero.