The Humane Society of Carroll County, with a $10,000 grant from the Maryland Department of Agriculture, is providing free spay/neuter services to low-income pit bull owners.
"One hundred percent of the dogs we have at this time are bully mixes," said Karen Baker, director of volunteer and foster services at the Humane Society. "That's why we chose them as the recipients of the spay/neuter grant."
Maryland's Spay and Neuter Grants Program is designed to reduce the number of unwanted cats and dogs euthanized in shelters across the state, according to the Maryland Department of Agriculture. The hope is to reduce these numbers by providing competitive grants to local governments and animal welfare organizations that in turn promote and provide free spay and neuter services to pets of low-income Marylanders and to colonies of feral cats.
Baker said bully mixes often don't do well in kennels because the breed desires human companionship.
"Volunteers walk the dogs every day but kennels get boring for an intelligent, active dog," Baker said. "No matter how much enrichment you do, it's not a substitute for human companionship."
HSCC Executive Director Charles Brown said the grant helps reduce pit bulls' intake into the system. Brown said many dogs are surrendered to the shelter for behavior issues. Spaying and neutering directly impacts those issues, he said.
"Unneutered and unspayed dogs will search for each other and have a higher rate of aggression," Brown said. "Spaying and neutering also prevents health issues like cancer."
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While Brown said there's a perception that pit bulls are dangerous and unpredictable dogs, he's found that when they are well socialized they are stable and loyal pets.
"They're certainly strong and powerful, and we take those traits into consideration when placing them," Brown said.
Westminster Veterinary Hospital will be performing all surgeries, Brown said. The program continues until Sept. 1 but has a limited number of funds.
To apply, go to www.hscarroll.org or call 410-848-4810.