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Maryland to unveil spay/neuter funding rules

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Update: Maryland has delayed unveiling the proposed regulations by two weeks. The document was to appear in the biweekly Maryland Register on March 7 but ended up being completed after the publishing deadline. It is now slated for the March 21 edition.

The state of Maryland is scheduled March 7 to publish proposed regulations that will set the framework for its new spay/neuter funding program.

The draft regulations will be posted on the Maryland Department of Agriculture website and the Maryland Register so the public can submit comments before the document is finalized, department spokeswoman Vanessa Orlando told Feb. 27.

The spay/neuter program, called for under a state law enacted last year, will make competitive grants available to animal shelters and rescue groups to promote and provide spay/neuter services and educational outreach. The effort will be funded by a surcharge on registration fees that pet food manufacturers must pay to sell their products in the state.

A seven-member advisory board is providing guidance on how grant applications should be solicited and evaluated. The Agriculture Department has said it hopes to begin soliciting applications for spay/neuter funding in the spring.

The program is designed to reduce pet overpopulation and decrease the number of animals put down in shelters in Maryland. About 45,000 cats and dogs currently die in these facilities each year.

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