You may have heard of the State of Maine spay and neuter program, Help Fix ME. This program spayed/neutered and provided rabies vaccinations to 3,000 cats and dogs in 2014. It is provided free (or at a significantly reduced cost) to community members who are unable to pay for the cost of spay/neuter procedures through a veterinarian’s office.
More than 50% of the funding of Help Fix ME comes from a surcharge that pet food corporations pay to sell their products in Maine. It is a $20 surcharge, which directly supports Help Fix ME and the State of Maine Animal Welfare Program.
There is currently discussion at the state level to remove this surcharge. In doing so, roughly $100,000 will be take away from the funding of Help Fix ME. The loss of this surcharge funding will result in unwanted litters, as more than 1,000 low-income Maine families will be unable to have their pets spayed and neutered. This will undoubtedly result in an additional burden on animal shelters with increased animal intake. This surcharge is an innovative way to fund Maine’s spay/neuter program and should be used as model for all states as a way to support local animal shelters and humane groups who work together to end pet overpopulation.
It is also important to know that the removal of this surcharge will not decrease the cost of pet food to the consumer.
What can you do to help secure continued funding of Help Fix ME and the Animal Welfare Program?
- Write to your local representative, and tell them why you think Help Fix ME is an important service we provide to Maine citizens.
- Attend the public hearing next Wednesday, February 25th, at 10am in the Appropriations Committee hearing room at the State House.
- Tell your friends and family that this is happening, and that we can do something to ensure animals in Maine are spayed/neutered.