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Spay/neuter clinic advances in western Maryland

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A new spay/neuter clinic under construction in Hagerstown, Md., is progressing and is on track to be completed this fall, according to the Humane Society of Washington County, which is building the facility.

Photographs posted on the humane society's Facebook page on July 16 show the clinic’s walls and roof taking shape next to an existing structure. The groundbreaking ceremony for the new building was held in early November, or less than nine months ago.

"The weather has been cooperative and the staff is extremely excited to see the quick progress," the animal welfare organization wrote in its July electronic newsletter.

Equipped with a full-time veterinary staff, the $1.7-million, 6,745-square-foot clinic on Maugansville Road will offer low-cost spay/neuter services to try to significantly reduce the euthanasia rate for unwanted cats and dogs. The humane society takes in about 5,700 animals a year and puts to sleep more than a third of them.

The humane society said the new building will also allow it to set up a community cat room, in which adoptable felines will roam freely instead of being confined to cages.

Construction of the facility comes as the Maryland Department of Agriculture is launching a statewide program to promote spay/neuter and reduce pet overpopulation. Currently, about 45,000 cats and dogs are put down in Maryland animal shelters each year. The program will award grants to local governments and animal rescue groups. The deadline for the first round of grant applications is Aug. 6.

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