A consistent theme has resonated in every city in Tyler County - the animal population is out of control.
Mayors have attempted to take measures to remedy the problem by hiring companies to remove the animals from the city streets; stray dogs and cats have been accepted at animal shelters in other counties; and the Olive Branch continues to combat the stray population by seeking out "forever homes" for animals in their care. Still, the problem persists and the animal population grows.
This month, a bill (SB-184) was introduced to the Senate Committee on Agriculture and then to the Committee on Finance. If passed, it would allow for the creation of a spay/neuter assistance fund.
The introduction marks the third time the bill has been heard on the Senate floor. Perhaps the third time is the charm?
A 2009 survey show that 54 percent of all animals entering West Virginia shelters are euthanized because there are not enough "good" homes for them. Often, people want to have their pets fixed but the cost to spay or neuter an animal is prohibitive.
When a family is forced to choose between family needs and altering a pet, there is no choice. The result is more animals at the shelters and more taxpayer money spent to combat the problem.
A spay/neuter funding bill has the potential to raise $100,000 of yearly funding to help citizens statewide with the cost of altering their animals. This will also provide an ongoing and consistent revenue source for spaying and neutering animals throughout West Virginia.
Funds would come from a surcharge on the permit/ license fee already being paid by pet food companies to the WV Dept. of Agriculture to sell their products in WV. This surcharge would be segregated into a dedicated fund in the state treasury for spay/neuter from a small increase in the fees paid by the pet food companies - not charged to the pet owner.
WV State Code 19-23-10 already provides for a special 'spay neuter' fund for greyhounds in the state treasury, establishing a precedent for an account of this type.
We have needed a resource to help with pet-overpopulation in our state, and this spay/neuter funding bill could be part of our solution.
If you agree, contact your district representative today!