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Maryland ponders spay/neuter legislation

Carolyn Kilborn and Amy Hanigan recently spent a day at the state capital in Annapolis talking with legislators about a new report by the Maryland Spay/Neuter Task Force and the potential for spay/neuter legislation in the state.

“Maryland euthanasia statistics are deplorable,” says Kilborn, chair of Maryland Votes for Animals, who visited the capital with Hanigan, a Task Force member representing the group. The Task Force report found that 45,000 cats and dogs are euthanized in state shelters every year at a cost of $8 to $9 million. Among its recommendations to stem that tide:

  • Establish a fund to support spay/neuter services for low-income residents.
  • Generate funding from a surcharge on existing pet food manufacturer registration fees.
  • Distribute funds through competitive grants to organizations and agencies to provide spay/neuter services.

Kilborn says other states have seen significant reductions in both shelter occupancy rates and euthanasia procedures after passing similar legislation. While spay/neuter would remain voluntary under the task force’s recommendations, it would be greatly reduced in cost for some pet owners. To date, she says, 34 states have established funding mechanisms to support such programs.

“We’d love for people to join the coalition that’s forming to support the forthcoming bill that’s based on the Task Force report,” Kilborn says. To do that, visit; you can also sign a petition in support of spay/neuter legislation on the site.

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