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Feral cat funding urged in Maryland

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A national animal welfare group is urging Maryland to clarify that funding from the state’s new spay/neuter program can be used to sterilize feral cats.

In an April 15 letter to state officials, Best Friends Animal Society wrote that one section of the program's proposed regulations “may be wrongfully interpreted” as not allowing feral cat funding in some local jurisdictions. The letter recommends that the language be removed to “clear up any anticipated ambiguity.”

The letter coincides with a Best Friends alert April 16 asking Maryland residents to echo these concerns in online messages to the state.

The program is designed to curb pet overpopulation and reduce the number of cats and dogs put down in shelters. It will provide grants to animal welfare groups and local governments to promote and provide spay and neuter services.

"To truly satisfy the intent of the Maryland Spay/Neuter Grant Program, however, the vulnerable feral cat population must be addressed and funding must be allocated to prevent this population from breeding,” the Best Friends letter says. “These animals contribute significantly to shelter admissions and, unfortunately, euthanasia rates because these cats are often unsocialized to humans and therefore are not good adoption candidates. Failure to target this vulnerable population will guarantee failure for the grant program in meeting its goals of reducing admission and euthanasia rates.”

The proposed regulations were unveiled in March. The public has until April 21 to comment on them.

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