Kamenetz Seeks to Expand Spay and Neuter Services for Pets
Baltimore County Will Offer Deep Discount Days to Encourage Pet Adoption
Towson, Maryland (December 3, 2013) – Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced another expansion of the County's Animal Services program, to allow all County residents to utilize spay and neuter procedures, even for pets not adopted at the County shelter.
"We continue to improve our Animal Services operation, and this new initiative will allow County residents to spay or neuter their pets at a very reasonable cost," said Kamenetz. "The package of services is priced to improve public health by encouraging all County residents to spay or neuter their pets in order to avoid abandonment of unwanted cats and dogs, to use technology to assist in the return of stray animals, and to vaccinate their pets against the spread of rabies."
Subject to County Council review, the new policy would begin on January 13.
Thirty days ago, the County initiated a new program to provide spay and neuter services onsite at the Division of Animal Services Facility in Baldwin, Maryland at the time of adoption, included as part of the $65 adoption fee. With today's announcement those services will be expanded to all County pet owners, even if the dog or cat was not originally adopted from the County shelter. The County will also reduce the cat adoption fee from $65 to $50. The dog adoption fee remains $65. The adoption fee covers the cost of first distemper and rabies shots, deworming, a County license, a microchip and the spay or neuter services.
"These expanded services offered at a very low cost will encourage the public adoption of animals at our shelter," continued Kamenetz. "Not only will we be protecting the health of the pets and the public, but the microchip will also help the County better return lost animals to their owners. I am very proud of Baltimore County's Animal Services employees who continue to prioritize the needs of these animals."
Animal Services Facility
In October, Kamenetz also announced plans for a new $5 million Animal Services facility that will greatly enhance the delivery of services to shelter animals and the public. The new facility is being constructed on the 14 acres of land where the current Animal Services office and kennel are located. The current shelter is over 30 years old and inadequate in size and design to meet the demands of managing stray and adoptable animals.
The proposed structure will include increased kennel space, an adoption "meet and greet" room, a surgical suite, two separate dog parks – one for shelter use and one for the public, a cat observatory and socialization room, additional parking, and office space for staff and volunteers.
New Fee Structure and Deep Discount Days
In addition to lowering the adoption fee for cats, discounts from these rates will be possible for residents whose pets already have a County implanted microchip, which can be obtained separately for $25 and those who have obtained a County-issued license within the past six months licenses, and thus the discount range from $7 to $15.75.
Periodically, the County will also sponsor Deep Discount Days for the Animal Adoption Fee and/or the Sterilization Fee. Deep Discount Days would allow the County Director of Health and Human Services, with approval from the County Administrative Officer, to offer up to a 50 percent reduction in the adoption fees. Deep Discount Days will be offered at times throughout the year to primarily provide additional incentives for the adoption of animals.
"I am confident that these new services will increase pet adoptions and make it easier for County residents to take advantage of all of the services that Baltimore County's Division of Animal Services has available," said Dr. Gregory Branch, Director of Health and Human Services.
"I am delighted that the County is seeking to make it easier for residents to spay and neuter family pets," said Council Chair Tom Quirk. "I know from personal experience that these services will allow pet owners to save a lot of money."
"With the County's Animal Shelter located in my district, these issues are very important to me," stated 3rd District Councilman Todd Huff. "I have been working closely with the administration to improve the operation of the entire facility. This latest effort is good for my district and good for the County."
"We will continue to do all that we can to encourage pet adoption and responsible pet ownership in Baltimore County," concluded Kamenetz. "I know first hand how pets add much joy to their owner's lives, and the more adoptions we encourage the less burden there will be on our shelter."