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Maryland spay/neuter program flooded with funding requests

Demand for spay/neuter funding far exceeds supply in Maryland.
Demand for spay/neuter funding far exceeds supply in Maryland.
Marc Selinger

Maryland’s new spay/neuter program has been deluged with funding requests and will have to decline many of them due to financial constraints, according to state officials.

For its first round of grants, the program received 51 applications from local governments and animal welfare groups, said Vanessa Orlando, spokeswoman for the Maryland Department of Agriculture. The organizations seek a total of $1.85 million, which is nearly five times the $380,000 the program has available to spend.

“Personally, I'm not surprised by the demand,” Orlando told Aug. 15. “There's a big need for spay and neuter services across the state and a lot of able organizations that want to provide it.”

According to a list compiled by the department, the organizations requesting the largest amounts are: Ark of Hope Animal Rescue, $135,000; the Baltimore County Department of Health, $113,572; the Allegany County Animal Shelter, $122,315; BARCS/MDSPCA, $99,000; Uniting to Save Animals, $85,375; and the Humane Society of Carroll County, $81,768.

The applications, which were due Aug. 6, will be reviewed to determine which would "most effectively and efficiently" promote and provide spay/neuter services, according to program documents. Grant decisions are to be made in October.

The program is funded by a surcharge on registration fees that pet food manufacturers must pay to sell their products in the state. At least one round of grants a year is expected.

State lawmakers authorized the program last year to spur sterilization of more cats and dogs and reduce overpopulation in Maryland animal shelters. About 45,000 cats and dogs currently die in these facilities each year.

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