UPDATE – February 16, 2021 – This bill has now passed the Maryland House and moves to the Maryland Senate. Keep watching our website for the next opportunity to speak up on behalf of cats for this bill.
ORIGINAL – February 12, 2021 – A new bill now being considered in the Maryland legislature would ensure that a state government fund that has helped spay and neuter more than 70,900 cats and dogs will continue into the future, instead of expiring in 2022 as originally planned.
HB 146, which extends the Maryland Spay and Neuter Fund that supports the Maryland Spay and Neuter Grants Program, is set for a vote by the Maryland House of Delegates in the next few days. The bill already passed in the Maryland House Environment and Transportation Committee. If the full House approves, the bill will move onto the Maryland Senate.
Alley Cat Allies is working with lawmakers and urging Maryland residents to speak out in favor of HB 146 and, in the process, extend a program that provides critical care for cats and dogs who may not otherwise receive it. If you live in Maryland, you can send a letter of support to your legislators now.
The Maryland Spay and Neuter Grants Program has been in place since 2014 and is targeted toward animals of low-income families and TNR programs for the state’s community cats. Its purpose is to provide “competitive grants to local governments and non-profit animal welfare organizations who will then provide free spay and neuter services.”
These important spay and neuter programs break down one of the greatest barriers low-income earners face to neutering their pet: cost. The fund is a critical component of Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), in which cats who live outdoors are humanely trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated, eartipped for identification, and returned to their outdoor homes.
This is good for all of Maryland, because the program ends the breeding cycle of cats and dogs, which reduces the number of animals brought to animal shelters and, far too often, killed.
Funding for this program comes entirely from fees paid by the pet food industry, and not from state tax money.
This important service for Maryland’s animals and communities deserves to extend far beyond 2022. Once again, if you live in Maryland, please take action now in support of HB 146.