Last Friday, on this page, Burton Fletcher updated the community on conditions at the Lowndes County Animal Shelter: dramatic improvements when compared with several years ago, but a long way from the “no-kill” shelter he and many others would like to see.
If mass slaughter is unacceptable — and it should be — the only solution to the overpopulation of unwanted dogs and cats is sterilization. An animal that’s been spayed or neutered can’t have offspring, and the population will naturally dwindle.
But as many pet owners have discovered, such medical procedures are not cheap.
Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Tyler Harper announced a grant last week that may help.
The Georgia Department of Agriculture offers the Dog and Cat Sterilization Program Grant, which provides financial assistance to increase the availability of spay and neuter procedures across the state. The grant is available to animal shelters, rescue organizations and veterinary medical foundations; individuals can then apply to those organizations to subsidize their pets’ sterilization.
The program is paid for through the sale of three specific license plates: one featuring a dog, one a cat and the third has a line drawing of a dog and a cat within a heart. You’ve probably seen them as you’ve driven through town or on the interstate. Donations are also accepted.
The program was created in 2003. Our neighbors in Cook, Brooks, Thomas and Tift counties were among the recipients in 2022, the most recent year posted on the program’s website.
This year’s application period is now under way. Applications must be received by March 2 to be considered.
We encourage members of any organization that may qualify to visit www.agr.georgia.gov/dog-and-cat-sterilization-program-dcsp to learn more. That page features an overview of the program and has a link to more specific information for applicants.
“Through the Dog and Cat Sterilization Program grant, we aim to empower organizations at the forefront of animal welfare,” said Georgia Department of Agriculture Companion Animal Program Manager Jason Smith. “Our grant supports licensed rescues, local government animal shelters, and veterinary medical foundations enabling them to facilitate spay/neuter procedures and extend assistance to the communities we serve. As we strive to promote responsible pet ownership, we encourage all who are eligible to seize the opportunity and apply for the grant.”
Our animal shelter is doing its best to face an overwhelming problem. Spaying and neutering will help, and insofar as this grant can expand those services, it would benefit our community.