Department of Agriculture announces Spay and Neuter awards

CHARLESTON — The West Virginia Department of Agriculture has announced the 2019 grantees under the West Virginia Spay and Neuter Assistance Program. There were 71 applicants requesting more than $850,235 in grant funding. Fifty-five projects will receive a total of $419,766 in state assistance this year.

“We saw an increase of roughly $50,000 in additional funds available to the program. With matching dollars, 49 counties will have access to $694,909 to help control local animal populations,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt. “Clearly, cities and counties see this as an issue that must be dealt with.”

In 2017, House Bill 2552 added a fee to pet food registration in West Virginia to establish a funding stream for the Spay and Neuter program. Money raised from the increased fees were designated to grants for spay/neuter assistance. Eligible entities included county or municipal shelters, animal control agencies and nongovernmental, 501(c)(3), entities incorporated in West Virginia. This is the second year of a ten-year award cycle.

“We hear all the time from humane societies and municipalities they need help maintaining feral and domestic populations in West Virginia. With state assistance, these entities can tackle this problem without putting a huge stress on their limited budgets,” said WVDA Chief of Staff Norman Bailey. “We are excited to see a lot of the matching contributions have come from private donations.”

In 2018, 47 entities were awarded $367,680. With matching contributions, 8,953 spay/neuter procedures were performed under the West Virginia Spay and Neuter Assistance Program.

Among the awards given are:

Animal Friends of Barbour County Inc., Philippi; Animal Outreach Project Inc., Buckhannon; Barbour County Animal Control/Barbour County Commission, Philippi; Pendleton Animal Welfare Shelter Inc., Franklin; Randolph County Humane Society Inc., Elkins; and The Humane Society of Pocahontas County Inc., Marlinton.