Baltimore County to expand spay and neuter services
Wednesday, 08 January 2014 12:14

Shelters also offer discounted pet adoptions

by Nicole Rodman

    Baltimore County is making it easier and more affordable for county residents to spay or neuter their pets.
    Early last month, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced that the county’s Animal Services program will begin offering spay and neuter services to all pets of county residents, regardless of whether or not the pet was adopted at a county shelter.
    “We continue to improve our Animal Services operation, and this new initiative will allow county residents to spay and neuter their pets at a very reasonable cost,” Kamenetz stated in a press release.  “The package of services is priced to improve public health by encouraging all county residents to spay [or] neuter their pets in order to avoid abandonment of unwanted cats and dogs, to use technology to assist in the return of stray animals and to vaccinate their pets against the spread of rabies.”
  

If approved by the county council, the new policy will go into effect on Jan. 13.
    According to The Humane Society of the United States, spaying or neutering provides many benefits for both pets and their owners.
    In addition to reducing the number of homeless pets, the procedure has been shown to improve a pet’s health, according to the 2013 State of Pet Health Report, issued by Banfield Pet Hospital.
    Banfield Pet Hospital is the world’s largest veterinary practice, with more than 800 locations across the country.
    The report notes that neutered male dogs live 18 percent longer than un-neutered male dogs, while spayed female dogs live 23 percent longer than their unspayed counterparts.
    As the Humane Society points out, spaying or neutering can also help curb negative behavior, such as urine-marking, roaming and aggression, and can help save money on pet care.
    In November, the county began offering spay and  neuter services on-site at the Animal Services facility at 13800 Manor Road in Baldwin.
    Under the current policy, spay and neuter services are offered only for pets adopted from county animal shelters.
    Prior to November, Animal Services did not provide on-site spay and neuter procedures due to a lack of space in its facility.
    However, the county has since provided a temporary operating space so that the procedure can be done on-site.
    For pets adopted from a county animal shelter, spaying or neutering is included as part of the $65 adoption fee.
    The fee also includes a rabies shot, license, first series of vaccinations, microchip implantation and a “welcome home” kit.
    If the county’s recently-announced expansion is approved by the Baltimore County Council, as of Jan. 13, all county residents will be able to utilize spay and neuter services at the Animal Services facility.
    “These expanded services offered at a very low cost will encourage the public adoption of animals at our shelter,” Kamenetz stated.
    In the meantime, the county has announced plans to build a new $5 million Animal Services facility at the same site as the current facility in Baldwin.
    The new facility will provide greater kennel space, surgical suites and two dog parks.
    Along with expanding spay and neuter services to all county pet owners, Baltimore County has also announced that it will offer discounted fees to encourage adoption from county shelters.
    As part of this initiative,  the adoption fee for cats will be reduced from $65 to $50.
    Further discounts to this adoption fee will be available to residents whose pets already have county-implanted microchips or who have applied for a county pet license within the last six months.
    In addition, Baltimore County will sponsor Deep Discount Days.
    During Deep Discount Days, which will be held periodically throughout the year, adoption fees may be reduced by up to 50 percent.
    “I am confident that these new services will increase pet adoptions and make it easier for county residents to take advantage of all of the services that Baltimore County’s Division of Animal Services have available,” Dr. Gregory Branch, director of Baltimore County Health and Human Services, explained.
    For more information, contact Baltimore County Animal Services at
animalservices@balti
morecountymd.gov or by calling 410-887-PAWS (7297).