1. Find your State Senator here.
2. Copy and paste the letter below.
3. Please copy us at action@AnimalFriendlyNYC.org so we can keep track of support.
Dear Senator ____________:
Please sign on to be a co-sponsor of Senator Thomas Duane's bill, S4278, and please urge the Senate leadership to put this life-saving bill on the agenda for a floor vote during the next special session.
This bill, which will bring desperately needed money to New York City for low-cost spay and neuter clinics for low-income pet owners, unanimously passed the Assembly on June 15.
It also unanimously passed the Senate Agriculture Committee on June 2. Significantly, it has the support of the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which would oversee the program this bill would create.
This bill is crucial to ending the euthanasia of tens of thousands of homeless dogs and cats in our city's shelters each year.
We know from successful programs in other states that offering low-cost surgeries to low-income pet owners is the only way to significantly reduce the number of homeless pets. And we know that the cheapest way to deliver those services is through clinics.
This bill will be a life-saver. I would very much appreciate your support for it.
(Your name and address)
Copy us if you send an email: action@AnimalFriendlyNYC.org
Low-Cost Spay and Neuter Clinics for Low-Income New York City Pet Owners
Assembly Bill A6158 and Senate Bill S4278
This bill already represents a huge victory for Animal Friendly NYC's efforts to create city-funded low-cost spay and neuter clinics for pets of low-income New Yorkers. It passed the State Assembly on June 15 in a unanimous vote, thanks to the tireless efforts of Sponsor Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal and Co-Sponsor Assembly Member Micah Kellner.
The Senate version of the bill, sponsored by Senator Thomas Duane, was making good progress through committees when a leadership struggle in the Senate shut down all work on June 8.
The Senate is back to work and will be holding special sessions this fall. This bill needs to get on the agenda for a floor vote, but it will be fighting for attention with hundreds of other bills that also got sidelined during the Senate crisis.
Help us make sure this bill is on the Senate agenda this fall. Copy and paste the letter to the left and send it to your State Senator. If the Senate doesn't act on this bill, New York City pet owners will continue to lose out on funds dedicated to low-cost spay and neuter.
What the Bill Will Do
This bill will allow New York City to set up its own low-cost spay and neuter program using money from a license surcharge on intact dogs to create clinics for pets of low-income New Yorkers. This dedicated stream of funds now goes to a state program that has operated since 1997, but has never worked well in New York City because it's a veterinary-reimbursement program and very few city vets participate.
For example, in the last five years only 485 surgeries were performed under the state program in New York City. No, you didn't misread that. Only 485 city dogs and cats benefited from this program even though the city sent at least $600,000 to the program.
This bill will allow the city to dramatically increase the number of spay and neuter surgeries and reduce the cost per surgery. The 485 state-program surgeries performed in the last five years cost the state an average $152 per surgery. A clinic can perform the surgeries at an average subsidy of $65.
Significantly, the bill has the support of the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which oversees the city's animal shelters and would oversee this program. And it has the support of the state Department of Agriculture and Markets, which administers the current state program.
Why We Need Clinics
In the last six years, New York City has struggled to reduce the number of homeless cats and dogs euthanized each year. The heroic efforts of the city's rescue and adoption community have managed to more than double the number of cats and dogs adopted out, saving many pets from death. However, the number of animals entering the city's shelters has stayed stubbornly at about 41,000 a year.
Unfortunately, increasing adoptions doesn't solve the problem of homeless pets. We know from successful programs in other states that offering low-cost spay and neuter to low-income pet owners is the only way to significantly reduce shelter intake. That's because the cost of spaying and neutering is out of reach for many pet owners, and when pets reach sexual maturity or have litters, their owners often abandon them.
That's not only tragic for the animals who are abandoned. It's also expensive for the city. It costs about $200 to take an animal into the city's shelters, whether that animal ends up adopted or dead. A subsidized surgery costs roughly $65 when delivered in a clinic setting and not only keeps that animal in his or her home, but also keeps potential offspring out of the city's shelters.
Four years ago, AFNYC launched its Low-Cost Spay and Neuter Clinic Initiative and has been working with state and city legislators and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to create low-cost clinics in each of the city's five boroughs.
This bill would provide a good financial footing to get the first of those clinics off the ground.