The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) – through its new statewide Spay and Neuter Grant Program – is awarding nearly $475,000 in grants to 14 nonprofit and governmental organizations across the state to provide low-cost spay and neuter services targeted to low income pet owners. A total of 51 applications, requesting more than $1.8 million were received.
The Spay and Neuter Grants Program was created by the General Assembly during the 2013 Legislative Session as a new program within MDA. The goal of the program is to reduce the number of cats and dogs euthanized in shelters across the state by providing competitive grants to local governments and animal welfare organizations that promote and provide spay and neuter services and education. The legislation requires the program to give priority, whenever possible, to those projects that serve low income communities and populations. All funding for this program comes from a special fee paid by pet food companies that sell product(s) in Maryland.
“The demand for these services is evident not only by the number of grant applications we received but also by the high quality of those applications,” said Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance. “As this program provides resources to the organizations that are best able to provide spay and neuter services, we expect to see those euthanasia rates go down.”
A seven-member Spay and Neuter Advisory Board, appointed by Secretary Hance, has spent the last year developing regulations, criteria and materials for the program. The board also reviewed each application before making funding recommendations to the Secretary. In addition, a coordinator was hired to manage the program.