United Spay Alliance is thrilled to announce that it just published its State Legislative Tracker. We hope you spend a few minutes looking at the page and becoming acquainted with what it does. Even more, we hope you and your organization, colleagues, or friends are inspired to begin a legislative effort to obtain sustainable statewide funding for spay/neuter in your state. If you do, the tracker will be there to help you. (We also have some other resources coming your way to assist groups with funding spay-neuter projects.)
At United Spay Alliance, we believe that first and foremost large-scale spay/neuter is the underpinning of all efforts to reduce cat and dog overpopulation in our states as well as the resulting sheltering overcrowding. We all know where that can lead. We also believe that while small-scale and intermittent spay/neuter projects help the people whose animals are being spayed and neutered, we know that we must all think on a larger and longer-term scale. Why? Because while a short-term, minimally funded project treats a small number of animals, the remaining intact cats and dogs in the area continue to reproduce and, in short course, overcome the effect of the small scale spaying and neutering. We also are aware that private foundation grants and individual donations for spay/neuter are hard-won and decreasing in availability.
The best answer for the problem in our view is to establish a statewide spay/neuter program in each state that is funded by an ongoing mechanism (or combination of mechanisms). Some of those are adding a fee to pet food sold in the state (our favorite), creating a special license plate for spay/neuter that not only raises funds but also increases awareness every time a car with such a plate is on the road, or creating cat/dog licensing differentials for neutered and intact animals.
The State Legislative Tracker shows what kind of legislation related to spay/neuter has been introduced in the fifty state legislatures since January 1, 2017.
- You can look up what your own state has been doing, or check on a neighboring state or one that might be considered similarly situated.
- You can see which pieces of legislation have passed and which haven’t.
- You can look for trends. Each entry has a link to the bill or information about the bill, and each state name has a link to its legislature’s homepage. If you’ve never thought about the legislature before, that’s a great place to start. They usually have information on how the process works, who the current and past legislators, bills, and much more. We’ve heard that some people find the idea of getting involved in legislation intimidating. And, it’s true, it is a new world for those who haven’t stepped foot in their capitol. But, it’s easy enough to learn about and also quite interesting.
Because United Spay Alliance is focused on sustainable and secure spay/neuter programs and funding, we haven’t included every single bill that mentions the word “spay” or “neuter.” For example, we didn’t include bills that require shelters to spay/neuter or that make amendments to current law on the issue. It’s not that we don’t think that’s important because it absolutely is, but rather that we are aiming for something bigger, for programs that will spay/neuter the cats and dogs that are already out there in the world and reproducing at the call of nature. We are particularly interested in programs that serve the animals of low-income households who can’t otherwise afford a spay/neuter surgery and that serve the free-roaming cat population. Programs and funding that will have a high impact on reducing shelter overpopulation are our goals.
We also did not include a handful of bills that provide a benefit to smaller segments of the adopting population, that is, seniors and/or veterans. And, we did not include straight-out appropriations contained in state budget bills (though we hope to get to that in the future).
Are you ready? Click here to see what we’re so excited about.