On Monday, January 17, 2011, two companion animal spay/neuter assistance bills were introduced in the Washington State Legislature: Senate Bill 5151 and House Bill 1226. If passed, these bills will provide for up to 65,000 additional spay/neuter surgeries for cats and dogs in Washington through a network of private, nonprofit, and public spay/neuter clinics around the state. A small fee on dog and cat food (paid by companies that register pet food for sale in Washington) would fund the surgeries. Spay/neuter surgery would be made available to pets belonging to low-income residents, and to feral or free-roaming cats. Spay/neuter surgery is one of the most effective ways to prevent companion animal homelessness.
The benefits of these bills are humanitarian, of course, but they're much more. The bills would help reduce the tremendous burdens and costs incurred by local animal care and control agencies and animal shelters that are handling complaints, picking up stray animals, and impounding and sheltering tens of thousands of homeless animals each year. In addition, the bills can be expected to help reduce the risk of dog bite incidents by providing greater access to affordable and accessible spay/neuter surgery for dogs that otherwise are unlikely to be altered. (Studies have shown that altered dogs as a group are much less likely to cause serious bite injuries than unaltered dogs).
What can you do to help?
Copies of SB 5151, HB 1226, and a spay/neuter bill flyer are available to download for your use. Please download the flyer and post it in your local coffee shops, break room at work, and anywhere else you think would be appropriate.
This spay/neuter legislation is endorsed by the Washington State Federation of Animal Care and Control Agencies; the Humane Society of the United States; the ASPCA; the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association; over 75 local humane societies, animal rescue groups, and other animal welfare organizations; individual veterinarians; and thousands of individuals throughout Washington who care for companion animals.
For more information go to www.savewashingtonpets.org.