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HB 2552 will control pet overpopulation in WV!


Download the 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

The best way to fund the WV Spay Neuter Program Fund  : Saving Money and Saving Lives!

We have a fund established & rules and regulations.   What we need now is revenue for that fund!   Help us to obtain funding.  

The Surcharge on manufacturers’ pet food fee paid for a permit to sell products in WV is the best option!  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!

Funding Options for the WV State Spay/Neuter Fund – Why #6 has moved to the #1 funding option!

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. At this time, it is more of a nuisance fee and the compliance rate is very low. The money does not remotely cover the cost of properly maintaining a shelter or providing animal control. But even if the fee was increased, it would be unlikely that the counties would want to give up this extra funding that they need for the operation of their shelters.

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 two 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% of 48,050 total intake in 32 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 cost per animal housed in a WV shelter.

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

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


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]   In 2015 MD gave out $600,000 to 19 groups throughout Maryland for spay neuter grants.  Their money comes from the very same Pet Food Surcharge increase we are trying to obtain!


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 $196 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 a modest 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.


Data Sources:
2014-15 Vet Report with 30 Counties Reporting/ two known No Kill not reporting

2015-16 American Pet Product’s Associa­tion National Pet Owners’ Survey
Survey of 37 counties in WV in 2015 

2015 pet food sales data from http://www.petfoodindustry.com/blogs/7-adventures-in-pet-food/post/6038-pet-food-sales-update-us-spending-up-22-in-2015

2014 – 2016 US Census estimate


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