The Maryland Department of Agriculture expects to finalize the grant application form and post it on its website late next week, department spokeswoman Vanessa Orlando told Examiner.com May 22. Organizations will then have 60 days to submit an application for the initial round of grants. Guidelines will be posted online to "describe how the program works -- what's eligible, what isn't, etc.," Orlando said.
The department’s spay/neuter advisory board has finished reviewing draft regulations for the new program and has recommended only one minor change, Orlando added. That change tweaks the feral cat language so it is the same as the statute that lawmakers and the governor approved last year. The revised language says that “in determining which projects to fund, the department will consider … whether or not a proposal targeting feral cat populations violates local law.”
The program, which is designed to reduce cat and dog overpopulation, will provide grants to animal welfare groups and local governments to promote and provide spay/neuter services. The effort will be funded by a surcharge on registration fees that pet food manufacturers must pay to sell their products in the state.