Spay/Neuter License Plate Program Aims To Curb Homeless Animals In California

Program focuses on homeless animals in California.

The California Spay and Neuter License Plate Fund and the California Veterinary Medical Board are kicking off the California Spay and Neuter Specialty License Plate Program 11 a.m. tomorrow at the West Los Angeles Animal Shelter. The program aims to provide funding for free and low-cost spay and neuter surgery programs throughout the state.

The license plates will feature original artwork created and donated by actor Pierce Brosnan. Brosnan will be joined by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and other guests at the launch.

“The Spay and Neuter License Plate Program is unprecedented in California and a brilliant initiative,” said Stephanie Ferguson, DVM, vice president of the California Veterinary Medical Board. “The proceeds from this program will tremendously benefit animal shelters and help curtail the number of homeless animals throughout the state. We’re also extremely fortunate to have the generosity and crucial support of Pierce Brosnan and other well-known celebrities.

Specifically, the program will fund spay and neuter surgeries through local animal care and control agency voucher programs and through in-house or local veterinary clinics. Net proceeds from the sale and annual renewal of the license plates will fund spay and neuter surgeries, not shelter overhead costs, the two groups noted.

The plates will be produced and issued once an initial 7,500 prepaid applications have been collected per the Special Interest License Plate Program requirements. Preorders will be accepted at starting June 9.

The total number of dogs and cats euthanized in public shelters rose from 378,445 in 2004 to 432,512 in 2008, according to the latest figures available from the California Department of Public Health. When the state’s private shelters are included, it is estimated that one million pets enter California’s shelters each year, with more than half of them euthanized, the California Spay and Neuter License Plate Fund and the California Veterinary Medical Board noted.

The increase in animals entering shelters and the resulting euthanasia rates are caused by several factors, according to the two groups, including people abandoning their pets due to the mortgage and unemployment crisis, accidental litters from unaltered pets, over-breeding of dogs and cats and stray dogs and cats reproducing.

The California Spay and Neuter License Plate is sponsored by the California Veterinary Medical Board, an agency within the California Department of Consumer Affairs. Applications are gathered and processed by the California Spay and Neuter License Plate Fund.


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