Pet homelessness is a serious and costly problem in West Virginia.
Each year, tens of thousands of dogs and cats are euthanized in shelters, costing West Virginia taxpayers approximately $10 million. These animals are euthanized not because they are old, sick or not cute enough — there are simply not enough homes for them.
This is a problem with a straightforward fix. Spaying and neutering pets prevents animals from being born into homelessness and reduces shelter overcrowding and euthanasia, which will ultimately reduce costs to taxpayers.
Pet owners cite cost as the greatest obstacle to spaying/neutering their animals. Subsidizing these surgeries in the short term will save money and animal lives in the long term. Also, communities will be offered assistance with the control of feral and stray cat populations.
House Bill 2552, awaiting the signature of Gov. Jim Justice, would provide spay/neuter funding through a small fee on pet food manufacturers paid at the state level into the W.Va. Dept. of Agriculture.
This is not at the consumer level, nor the retail level. However, if passed down to the consumer, it would cost less than 50 cents per pet per year. You can’t buy much for 50 cents these days — this is a good deal for taxpayers and a great deal for the 65 percent of state households with pets. West Virginians are pet lovers, with one pet for every two West Virginians.
HB 2552 passed the Legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support. Justice should swiftly sign this money and life-saving measure into law.
The letter was signed by board members of the Federation of Humane Organizations of W.Va., a grassroots group supporting statewide animal welfare issues.
Governor should sign spay/neuter bill