The following letter by Becky Robinson was sent in response to Delaware legislature’s consideration of SB 185, “An Act to Amend Title 3 of the Delaware Code Relating to Pet Food Manufacturing Fees,” which would create more funding to spay and neuter cats.
Speaker of the House Peter Schwartzkopf
House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst
House Minority Leader Daniel Short
Members of the Delaware House of Representatives
411 Legislative Ave.
Dover, DE 19901
Dear Speaker Schwartzkopf, Majority Leader Longhurst, Minority Leader Short and Members of the House:
On behalf of Alley Cat Allies and our over 5,000 supporters in Delaware, I urge you to support SB 185, “An Act to Amend Title 3 of the Delaware Code Relating to Pet Food Manufacturing Fees.” If enacted into law, SB 185 would create more funding to spay and neuter cats. This additional funding will empower animal protection organizations who are addressing the community cat population and meet the needs of low-income residents to spay and neuter cats who live in their homes. SB 185 was introduced by Sen. John Walsh, passed the Senate and is now before the House of Representatives.
Alley Cat Allies, based in Bethesda, Maryland, is the only global advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats. We have promoted sound and compassionate policies for cats since our founding in 1990.
Sterilization is the linchpin that makes possible the greater goals of public health, animal welfare, and effective nonlethal control. Without the expanded availability of low-cost sterilization services through this increased funding, there will be greater cost to Delaware taxpayers for the intake, housing, and killing of animals. This also creates a moral cost. These programs also benefit community cats, also called stray or feral cats, as part of Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), whereby unowned, free-roaming cats are trapped, sterilized, vaccinated, eartipped, and returned to their outdoor homes to live and thrive.
SB 185 will significantly reduce one of the greatest barriers low-income owners face to neutering their pet: cost. A peer-reviewed scientific study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association found that while most pet cats are already neutered, the rate is significantly lower for pet cats living in households earning $35,000 or less annually.1 The lower-income owners who were interviewed primarily cited high cost as the reason for not neutering their cats. Providing low-cost or free sterilization services benefits both cats and shelters as research has shown that sterilization reduces the risk that adopted animals will be returned or relinquished to shelters.
There are also a substantial number of community cats who benefit from spay and neuter programs. Sterilizing these cats prevents unchecked breeding, eliminates unwanted behaviors associated with mating, and improves their health.
Increased accessibility of spay and neuter services is a win for citizens, a win for animal shelters, and a win for cats. For these reasons, we urge you to support SB 185. Thank you for your time.
President and Founder
Alley Cat Allies
1. Chu K, Anderson WM, Rieser MY, Population Characteristics and Neuter Status of Cats Living in Households in the United States, J Am Vet Med Assoc, 2009; 234: 1023-1030.