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Pet spaying, neutering discounts increased

October 19, 2005|by TARA REILLY

WASHINGTON COUNTY

tarar@herald-mail.com

In an attempt to boost the number of Washington County residents who have their pets spayed or neutered, the Washington County Commissioners on Tuesday agreed to offer higher discounts toward the costs of the surgeries.

The discounts, in some cases, will increase by as much as $55.

The recommendation was pitched to the commissioners by Humane Society of Washington County Executive Director Paul Miller as an incentive for residents to have their pets spayed or neutered.

Miller mentioned the recommendation after updating the commissioners on the number of animal admissions to the Humane Society from July through September. The update also included how many pets were adopted and euthanized.

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Of the 1,576 animals admitted to the Humane Society during that time, 976 were euthanized, 301 were adopted and 125 were reunited with their owners. The remaining animals died on their own or were placed elsewhere.

The discount incentive is part of the county's Spay/Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP), which subsidizes spay and neuter surgeries and administrative costs for county residents.

The program is funded through the sale of dog and kennel licenses.

Before Tuesday, residents received a $25 certificate toward the cost of spaying or neutering a dog and a $20 certificate toward the surgeries for cats.

Under the new SNAP discount, residents will receive an $80 certificate for dogs, a $60 certificate for female cats and a $30 certificate for male cats.

While SNAP is to be promoted as assistance for those who are unemployed or experiencing financial hardship, it is available to all county residents, according to the policy.

Residents interested in the program must contact the Humane Society, where they receive the certificates to present to their veterinarians for the discounted surgeries. Veterinarians send the certificates back to the shelter for reimbursement, according to the SNAP policy.

Three certificates will be available per species per household.

Miller said the Humane Society receives many calls about SNAP but very few followups. He said residents have commented that $20 to $25 discounts didn't provide much of an incentive to have their pets altered.

Commissioners Vice President William J. Wivell was concerned Tuesday that SNAP might run out of money with the increased discount.

"What are you going to do if you run out of money?" Wivell said. "Cause you're going to run out of money very quickly if you expand it this much."

The program currently has $37,147 for SNAP certificates. Miller estimated the money would last six to eight months.

"We don't know yet until we try it and see," Miller said. "And then again, nobody may take advantage of this program."

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