Nov 22 2017

Interview: WV Spay Neuter Funding Solution

New Mexico is trying to obtain the same sort of SN funding legislation that WV just passed.   NM public radio program host for ‘Animal Talk’ Jennifer Rabinowitz invited FOHO WV, Theresa Bruner and West Virginia Delegate Matthew Rohrbach, the lead sponsor of our successful bill to speak about our program.  This is a 26 minute interview.

Animal Talk November 17, 2017 with guests:  West Virginia Delegate Matthew Rohrbach and Theresa Bruner, Federation of Humane Organizations of West Virginia  –   West Virginia Pet Food Company Surcharge Law to Fund State Low-Cost Spay Neuter Program

(My mistake for saying Barbour Co. instead of Barboursville but it was live so this happens.  No one in New Mexico is aware of my error but unfortunately Animal Friends of Barbour Co. and Help for Animals will have to accept my humble apology….)   


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Nov 22 2017

60 applications received for WV Spay Neuter Grants!

Total amount requested is $962,371.50, the highest amount is $75,000.00, and the lowest amount is $2,000.00. This makes for an average of $16,592.61.

An initial overview shows that 19 applications are from humane societies, 9 are from county animal control/shelters, 7 are from locality/municipal affiliations and 25 are independent local organizations.  What a success from the standpoint of reaching a diverse coalition statewide!

Grant applicants with missing information were given an opportunity to correct errors.  The deadline for getting that done is Nov. 27th.   Grants will be awarded Jan. 1st!

FOHO would like to note how accurately close our initial request for funding was.   We asked for $900,000.

WV Spay Neuter Advisor Committee members were appointed by Commissioner Leonhardt.  All members serve on the committee through June 30, 2018 and can be reappointed. Members of the committee include Theresa Bruner , Randolph and Sylvia Shafer, Kanawha from FOHO WV, Darlene Bolyard, Preston, animal rescue and farmer, Amy Moloney, Monroe, animal rescue, Margie Minch, Monongalia, WVU Veterinarian, Diane Modisette, Wood, former animal control officer and Ginny Dinsmore, Monongalia, pet food supplier. Norm Bailey, Chief of Staff to Commissioner Leonhardt, Andrew Yost, Curtis Green and Robin Gothard from the WV Dept. of Ag.


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Jan 31 2017

WV State Spay Neuter Assistance Program is finally funded! Saving Taxpayer Dollars and Saving Lives!


Follow us for the current information on our WV Spay Neuter Page
This was original amount asked for but it was cut in half.   There are ways to fund WV SNAP without taking money from our overburdened WV budget.   The Pet Food Industry sold $196 million in sales in WV in 2015.  They register their pet food brands (every single dog food and cat food individual product requires registration charge)  already in WV;  so raise that fee by $100 on 9,000 brands = $900,000 for spay neuter!   Unfortunately, the fund was cut by 1/2 and now we will receive $450,000 yearly.
This fund can help owned animals, strays and any spay neuter effort throughout the state of West Virginia.  Trouble with stray cats?  This is included too!
This is being done now in ME and MD very successfully with hundreds of individual grants given out.   Let’s save 50,000 animals from entering WV Shelters and 20,000 of them from death.   

Right now, we have a fund established & rules and regulations.

Funding Option for the WV Spay Neuter Assistance Program is an increase in an already existing fee!

A Surcharge on manufacturers’ pet food fee paid for a permit to sell products in WV already exist at the WV Dept. of Agriculture.   This is the most logical and cost effective way to raise the funding for a statewide spay/neuter program. There is already in place a mechanism that requires pet food manufacturers/distributers to buy a license or permit to sell their products in our state. This is done through the Agriculture Department. A surcharge would be added to this already existing permit fee for pet food only. This would not include livestock or poultry feed.  Specialty food, such as for birds, fish, etc., is not included in the surcharge. This would be a consistent stream of funding.  Most important is the fact that this is not a retail or consumer tax on WV citizens. The pet food companies don’t necessarily need to pass this cost on to the consumer; but even if they did, it would equal approximately 1.00 per year per pet, and only pet owners would pay this very small extra cost.  


This option with 9,000 brands registered in WV could raise over $900,000 per year for Spay Neuter!

It is a reliable choice, every year it would yield revenue


Download this Special Report on Solving Pet Overpopulation in WV 2017
WV Spay Neuter Special Report 2017


Download this 2 page summary on the WV Spay Neuter Funding Solution for 2017
Spay Neuter Funding 2017

Other Funding Options considered for the WV State Spay/Neuter Fund

1. Income tax check off would not be dependable or consistent. People do not respond well to giving more money after paying their taxes and research has noted that the amount raised in this manner is not likely to be large.

2. Surcharge on rabies vaccinations. Veterinarians do not like this idea. They cite additional work on their end and fear that clients will not have their pets vaccinated if they increase the price. The spay/neuter program will be completely dependent on the cooperation of the veterinarian community; therefore, any attempt to use this funding method could potentially be devastating to the success of the program.

4. Raising the dog license/registration fee would be perceived as an increase in taxes. Raising the fee is actually a reasonable idea as the fee has been $3.00 for over 50 years.  That money increased on each license fee would need to be designated for spay neuter.

5. A yearly appropriation from the legislature. This would need to be a large enough amount to be effective and be continued every year.   It could not be guaranteed. Not dependable and pits us against other worthy WV groups who need funding.

Suggestions on obtaining grants has been made too.   Our concern with grants is that is the way most animal advocacy groups are forced to operate in the state so now we are competing against other worthy animal advocacy groups.  We know how competitive it is to get grant funding and it provides no ongoing source of funding.   Do not be distracted by those arguments on how all of this can work.

A Solution for the Pet Overpopulation in West Virginia – Saving taxpayer dollars and saving lives!

With twenty one years of work in animal welfare, we have championed many causes but none as critically necessary as our spay/neuter initiative.  We spend over $8 million dollars each year in West Virginia to impound, care for and kill unwanted dogs and cats.  Sadly, the majority of the 38% of shelter animals annually killed are healthy adoptable animals.   We need to spend the money on preventing the problem rather than dealing with the aftermath of unwanted dogs and cats.  We were successful with the passage of a 2013 bill that established a WV Spay Neuter Fund with the WV Department of Agriculture.  The WV S/N fund rules passed in the 2015 session which formally establishes this fund making it viable to receive money and begin its implementation. The benefits go beyond compassion for animals.  It would help save local governments and shelters millions of dollars, assist low income West Virginians to alter their pets and contribute to public safety.

We need help finding a sustainable & reliable funding source for this existing fund.

18,498 Euthanized or 38.5% of 48,050 total intake in 30 counties reporting

23,466 Cat intake with 13,689 Euthanized

28,584 Dog intake with 4,760 Euthanized

65% US & WV households have pets.  [Past trends =WV higher pet ownership than US]

$10 million dollars spent annually for animal control throughout West Virginia

$218 is average cost per animal housed in a WV shelter.  (average over 25 counties)

Other states are working effectively to solve this problem with varying funding solutions.


Other States finding solutions!

Maine has a population well below ours of 1.3 million.  They adopted a Pet Food fee (surcharge on brands coming into the state) in 2005.

Year (fiscal) Pet Food Fee License Plate Tax Check-off Co Pay for Spay/Neuter Donation Pet Store Fee ME Total
2014 100,000 70,955 21,069 28,675 1,614 17,960 240,273

Source:  Maine’s Animal Welfare Program review for 2014

Maryland passed a law in 2013 using a Pet Food Surcharge adding $100 to each pet food brand being sold in their state.  This generated $388,000 in 2014 and will increase to over a million dollars per year in a phased in approach.   Source [Maryland Spay and Neuter Grants Program Annual Report August 2014]

According to the 2016 US Census estimates, West Virginia has 883,197 households.  Calculating 65% of WV households (574,078) with pets and extrapolating the 2015 U.S. Pet Food Sales number of $29.49 billion, we estimate the pet food industry had sales of $195 million in West Virginia in 2015.

Not a dime out of the budget but from the out-of-state Pet Food Industry which by their own admission have increased their profits over 22% from 2014-2015.

We propose an increase to the surcharge on Pet Food brands registered with the WV Dept. of Agriculture as a solution for funding our WV State Spay Neuter Fund.  Using the experience of Maine and Maryland, and with the grant from the ASPCA and others, this would be a beginning to help WV save millions of dollars and lives.

Thanks to the ASPCA for their continued support of our spay neuter effort in West Virginia.

Data Sources:
2014-15 Vet Report with 32 Counties Reporting/ two known No Kill not reporting

2015-16 American Pet Product’s Associa­tion National Pet Owners’ Survey
Survey of 38 counties in WV in 2015

2015 pet food sales data from

2014 US Census estimate


Turn Off The Spigot _3 Best


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Jan 15 2017

Legislative Committee and Contact Information 2017

We have only listed House and Senate Agriculture, Finance, Judiciary and Rules, the committees that might affect our spay neuter funding bill.  Make phone calls first since they have the most impact.  Emails are not always read but phone calls are tallied and provided to the legislator.  Also leave a message if you do not talk to a live person. 


Name Email Telephone
Agriculture Committee – House
Delegate Evans, A. – Chair Agriculture (304) 340-3399
Delegate Hamilton – Chair Natural Resources (304) 340-3167
Delegate Romine R. – Vice-Chair Agriculture no listing
Delegate Ambler – Vice-Chair Natural Resources (304) 340-3129
Delegate Sponaugle – Minority Chair Agriculture (304) 340-3154
Delegate Rodighiero – Minority Chair Natural Resources (304) 340-3297
Delegate Thompson – Minority Vice-Chair Agriculture (304) 340-3355
Delegate Hicks – Minority Vice-Chair Natural Resources (304) 340-3155
Delegate Anderson (304) 340-3168
Delegate Atkinson III (304) 340-3185
Delegate Baldwin (304) 340-3131
Delegate Brewer (304) 340-3146
Delegate Cooper (304) 340-3119
Delegate Eldridge (304) 340-3113
Delegate Folk (304) 340-3350
Delegate Hanshaw (304) 340-3135
Delegate Harshbarger (304) 340-3195
Delegate Lewis (304) 340-3396
Delegate Love (304) 340-3337
Delegate Lynch (304) 340-3916
Delegate Miller, C. (304) 340-3176
Delegate Moore (304) 340-3248
Delegate Overington (304) 340-3148
Delegate Summers (304) 340-3139
Delegate Wagner (304) 340-3398
Agriculture Committee – Senate
Senator Sypolt – Chair (304) 357-7914
Senator Rucker – Vice-Chair (304) 357-7957
Senator Beach (304) 357-7919
Senator Cline (304) 357-7807
Senator Mann (304) 357-7849
Senator Maynard (304) 357-7808
Senator Miller (304) 357-7857
Senator Ojeda (304) 357-7857
Senator Smith (304) 357-7995
Senator Woelfel (304) 357-7956
Finance Committee – House
Delegate Nelson, E. – Chair (304) 340-3230
Delegate Householder – Vice-Chair (304) 340-3274
Delegate Boggs – Minority Chair (304) 340-3142
Delegate Bates – Minority Vice-Chair (304) 340-3180
Delegate Ambler (304) 340-3129
Delegate Anderson (304) 340-3168
Delegate Barrett (304) 340-3188
Delegate Butler (304) 340-3199
Delegate Cowles (304) 340-3220
Delegate Ellington (304) 340-3269
Delegate Espinosa (304) 340-3265
Delegate Evans, A. (304) 340-3399
Delegate Frich (304) 340-3125
Delegate Gearheart (304) 340-3179
Delegate Hamilton (304) 340-3167
Delegate Hartman (304) 340-3178
Delegate Longstreth (304) 340-3124
Delegate Miller, C. (304) 340-3176
Delegate Moye (304) 340-3162
Delegate Pethtel (304) 340-3158
Delegate Rowe (304) 340-3287
Delegate Sponaugle (304) 340-3154
Delegate Storch (304) 340-3378
Delegate Walters (304) 340-3194
Delegate Westfall (304) 340-3140
Finance Committee – Senate
Senator Hall – Chair (304) 357-7901
Senator Mullins – Vice-Chair (304) 357-7831
Senator Blair (304) 357-7867
Senator Boley (304) 357-7905
Senator Boso (304) 357-7973
Senator Facemire (304) 357-7845
Senator Ferns (304) 357-7918
Senator Gaunch (304) 357-7841
Senator Mann (304) 357-7849
Senator Maroney (304) 357-7902
Senator Palumbo (304) 357-7854
Senator Plymale (304) 357-7937
Senator Prezioso (304) 357-7961
Senator Stollings (304) 357-7939
Senator Sypolt (304) 357-7914
Senator Takubo (304) 357-7990
Senator Unger (304) 357-7933
Judiciary Committee – House
Delegate Shott – Chair (304) 340-3252
Delegate Hanshaw – Vice-Chair (304) 340-3135
Delegate Fleischauer – Minority Chair (304) 340-3127
Delegate Fluharty – Minority Vice-Chair (304) 340-3270
Delegate Byrd (304) 340-3362
Delegate Canestraro (304) 340-3151
Delegate Capito (304) 340-3340
Delegate Deem (304) 340-3137
Delegate Fast (304) 340-3170
Delegate Foster, G. (304) 340-3121
Delegate Foster, N. (304) 340-3252
Delegate Hollen (304) 340-3136
Delegate Isner (304) 340-3145
Delegate Kessinger (304) 340-3197
Delegate Lane (304) 340-3183
Delegate Lovejoy (304) 340-3280
Delegate Miller, R. (304) 340-3184
Delegate Moore (304) 340-3248
Delegate O’Neal (304) 340-3164
Delegate Overington (304) 340-3148
Delegate Pushkin (304) 340-3106
Delegate Robinson (304) 340-3156
Delegate Sobonya (304) 340-3175
Delegate Summers (304) 340-3139
Delegate Zatezalo (304) 340-3120
Judiciary Committee – Senate
Senator Trump – Chair charles.trump@wvsenate (304) 357-7980
Senator Weld – Vice-Chair ryan.weld@wvsenate (304) 357-7984
Senator Azinger (304) 357-7970
Senator Beach (304) 357-7919
Senator Cline (304) 357-7807
Senator Ferns (304) 357-7918
Senator Jeffries (304) 357-7866
Senator Karnes (304) 357-7906
Senator Maynard (304) 357-7808
Senator Miller (304) 357-7959
Senator Ojeda (304) 357-7857
Senator Romano (304) 357-7904
Senator Rucker (304)-357-7957
Senator Smith (304) 357-7995
Senator Swope (304) 357-7843
Senator Woelfel (304) 357-7956
Rules Committee – House
Speaker Armstead – Chair (304) 340-3210
Delegate Anderson (304) 340-3168
Delegate Boggs; (304) 340-3142
Delegate Caputo (304) 340-3249
Delegate Cowles (304) 340-3220
Delegate Ellington (304) 340-3269
Delegate Espinosa (304) 340-3265
Delegate Ferro (304) 340-3111
Delegate Fleischauer (304) 340-3127
Delegate Hanshaw (304) 340-3135
Delegate Howell (304) 340-3192
Delegate Miley (304) 340-3240
Delegate Miller, C. (304) 340-3176
Delegate Moye (304) 340-3162
Delegate Nelson (304) 340-3230
Delegate O’Neal (304) 340-3164
Delegate Overington (304) 340-3148
Delegate Pethtel (304) 340-3158
Delegate Shott (304) 340-3252
Delegate Sobonya (304) 340-3175
Rules Committee – Senate
President Carmichael – Chair (304) 357-7801
Senator Blair (304) 357-7867
Senator Boley (304) 357-7905
Senator Ferns (304)-357-7918
Senator Palumbo (304) 357-7854
Senator Plymale (304) 357-7937
Senator Prezioso (304) 357-7961
Senator Stollings (304) 357-7939
Senator Sypolt (304) 357-7914
Senator Trump charles.trump@wvsenate (304) 357-7980

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Jan 14 2017

Watch and share our new Spay Neuter Funding Videos

This is our 30 second video.  Send it out to a legislator.  Thanks to Frankie Michele Dennison, the Director of Harrison County Humane for her assistance in this.




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Dec 16 2016

New ‘Too Many Kitties’ Radio Spay Neuter AD (PSA)

This radio ad is running on WCLG in Morgantown and we want it to run throughout WV radio stations!   Here is the link for the ad.  If you know of a radio station in your area please help us to get this ad on their station.  Copy this and take it to your local station to get this PSA on their station so we can spread this message to all!  Or send us an email and we will send you the mp3.file.

Turn Off The Spigot _3 Best

Each year, animal shelters in West Virginia take in over 50,000 cats and dogs, and each year, about 40% of these animals, including perfectly healthy and adoptable pets, are euthanized. Meanwhile, West Virginia taxpayers spend nearly $10 million annually to impound, care for, and euthanize unwanted dogs and cats.   By funding the WV State Spay Neuter Fund, we can control this pet-overpopulation by helping pet owners and communities throughout West Virginia spay and neuter local cats and dogs!   We can save money and save lives!

The Mountaineer Spay Neuter Assistance Program (M-SNAP) has loaned this wonderful radio ad to be used to obtain funding for the WV Spay Neuter Assistance Program. As of Aug 31, 2015 M-SNAP has paid for nearly 5,000 surgeries for a cost of more than $440,000! Visit their webpage (www.m-snap). Plus both M-SNAP and ReTails also have FB pages. ReTails is a thrift store at the Morgantown Mall which helps support S/N costs.

Thank you M-SNAP for all you have done in your area and are now willing to continue to do to reduce WV pet overpopulation through funding the WV State Spay/Neuter Program.

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Dec 09 2016

‘Shelter Dogs’ Cartoon celebrates our spay neuter fund!

Spay neuter cartoon1
(Click cartoon to enlarge)

Bob Walton of Urban Animal Magazine did this special ‘shelter dogs’ cartoon for us.  You can visit their site at

We do not have the actual number of dogs and cats dying in WV shelters each year.   Only 30 counties report statistics to the WV Veterinary Board.  2 counties are known No Kill Shelters and the remaining 21 are unknown as to what is going on with stray and unwanted animals.  Some counties have no facility or animal control.  The Vet Board statistics in 2014 for 32 counties is 38% or 18,498 euthanasia down from 42% the year before.  Many shelters do not take cats since they are not required by law to do so.   Extrapolating the data from 32 counties to 55 would have 82,585 entering WV shelters with 31,826 or 38% being euthanized.  Actual data has 40% or 20,000 dying in 30 counties of the 50,000 intake.

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Dec 02 2016

$450,000 for WV Spay Neuter throughout all 55 counties!

Maryland gave out $600,000 in grant money to 19 groups around their state in 2015 due to using the Pet Food Registration fee increase.    They are doing exactly what we are asking for in funding for our WV Spay Neuter Fund.

Often we have a problem but no apparent solution.  WV now has a funded spay neuter program.

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Nov 19 2016

2015 WV Pet Facts & Statistics

2015 WV Pet Facts & Statistics   (New statistics are coming soon)

18,498 Euthanized or 38% of 48,050 total intake in 30 counties reporting

23,466 Cat intake with 13,689 Euthanized

28,584 Dog intake with 4,760 Euthanized

$218 is the average per animal impoundment cost

65% US & WV households have pets.  [Past trends =WV higher pet ownership than US]

Nearly $10 million dollars spent annually for animal control throughout West Virginia

In 1 year, 1 unspayed female dog & all of its unaltered offspring would have 16 offspring    

In 1 year, 1 unspayed female cat & all of its unaltered offspring would have 12 offspring      


Sources of Data:

*West Virginia Animal Euthanasia and Control Statistics are difficult to pinpoint since no state reporting structure exists for compiling these statistics.  In 2013, the WV Veterinary Board began collecting intake data at the request of FOHO WV along with their yearly Euthanasia data for their certified euthanasia technicians.   While this has helped, only 30 counties report.  This report is required to WV Vet Board by January 15 for the previous year if there is a certified euthanasia technician in that county.


Source  Peter Marsh’s books: and



Source  2015-2016 APPA Survey
Note:  2011-2012 WV Pet Ownership had WV in the top 10 pet owning states.

Sources Consulted:

2014 WV Board of Veterinary Medicine Euthanasia Report – reporting 30 counties

2015 – Survey County Commissions – FOHO WV (The Federation of Humane Organizations of West Virginia)  –  28 counties surveyed


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May 30 2016

Watch these remarkable videos from our last Conference!

Watch these remarkable & informative youtube videos from the 2016 FOHO WV Conference
We are sorry that the Itty Bitty Kitty Committee presentation which had so many good comments was not able to be edited due to technical issues.   Please take time and enjoy the others!  

Putting an end to greyhound racing in West Virginia
Christine Dorchak discusses the humane problems associated with dog racing and its status nationwide.  She speaks specifically about her organization’s campaign to pass legislation to prohibit dog racing in West Virginia.  Everyone who cares about dogs can help save the greyhounds and Christine hopes that her presentation will motivate us all to help close down the dog tracks in West Virginia.
Christine Dorchak, cofounder of Grey2K USA Worldwide

(40 mins.)

Now that AZ has banned Greyhound Racing, WV is one of five states still allowing it.

Breaking down myths and barriers to adoption: Implementing programs that work!

Should you adopt pets as gifts?  Is the adoption screening criteria you are using improving the lives of the adopted animals?  Are volunteers/fosters better adoption counselors than staff?  This workshop will outline research and program focused on these topics and more and will help attendees to focus on what the data tells us vs. our guts.  At the end of the workshop, attendees will leave with the tools to question other assumptions as well as practical tools to implement life-saving programs right away.
Lisa Starr, M.S., Director, Community Initiatives, ASPCA

(60 mins.)


Prosecuting Animal Crimes
This video includes information on statewide task forces and statewide animal law units.  The Virginia Attorney General’s office has created one of the first Animal Law Units in the country and there is a discussion regarding how the Unit evolved and why it was needed in the Commonwealth.  Michelle discusses how to help your locality form an Animal Law Unit and how to aid a prosecutor’s office in the enforcement of animal abuse and animal fighting cases.  A discussion regarding the link between animal violence and humane violence with an emphasis regarding domestic violence is covered.  Best practices regarding investigation and prosecution of animal crimes is discussed.
Michelle Welch, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Director of the Animal Law Unit, Virginia Attorney General’s Office

(60 mins.)


The WV Commercial Breeder Law
Chris Brosan discusses the process from puppy mill to pet store.  He focuses on what the consumer sees and provides the background explaining how the need to “rescue” that poor puppy in the pet store leads to the miserable existence for the breeding dogs.  He highlights the current law in West Virginia and what we all can do as animal welfare advocates to help solve this problem in West Virginia.
Chris Brosan, Manager, Strategic Campaigns and Special Projects, State Affairs, Humane Society of the United States

(50 mins.)


A View from the Bench
Justice Brent Benjamin has heard various animal law matters during his time on the bench for the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.  This discussion will focus on the various animal-related cases that have come before the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals and how the Court’s decisions have further interpreted and defined animal law in West Virginia.
Justice Brent Benjamin, West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals video on Animal Law in West Virginia

(28 mins.)


Identifying and Prosecuting Equine Cruelty and Neglect
Dr. Mason discusses how to identify equine cruelty and neglect and how to ensure that these cases are investigated and prosecuted.  She relates her experience in equine cruelty and neglect cases and shares her expertise on how cruelty and neglect is identified and rated in equines.
Dr. Clara Mason, DVM, American Veterinary Medical Association board on Animal Welfare

(60 mins.)



Thanks to Barbara Grigg for her expertise in videography for providing these for FOHO WV!  This is just one of her contributions to animal welfare throughout West Virginia.  Barbara is the author of “Answers about Pets from the Bible,” a wonderful book about pets in the bible which is available on Amazon and on Barbara’s new Etsy Store page.  :


large group foho1


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