Tuesday, March 2, 2010

An important message from Animal Alliance

-----Original Message-----
From: Animal Alliance (Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals) <info@animalalliancenyc.org>
Subject: A disaster in the making in the NYS Budget!

Your help with a serious issue facing dogs and cats in the State of New York is urgently needed.

On page 171 of a 585 page document entitled "Executive Budget Agency Presentations" there is a seemingly innocuous heading "Dog license reform".  The suggestion from the Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets and accepted by governor Patterson is to eliminate the State's role in dog licensing and have each city, town and village (over 1,000 across the state) do their own licensing.   Hmmm, sounds like it wouldn't make much difference, you'll still get a dog license and show proof of rabies vaccination at your town clerk.  Might not sound much different.  There are many issues around decentralizing dog licensing, but that's not the biggest concern.

The problem is what this summary does not say.  What the governor left out (wisely) is that with the elimination of the central dog license database, the governor is also planning to eliminate the State's Animal Population Control Fund (APCF).  The APCF gets money from a $3 surcharge on every dog license sold in the state for dogs that are not spayed or neutered.  The fund then pays for spay/neuter surgeries for low income people and animals adopted from shelters that were not already altered.  This fund has subsidized surgeries for over 90,000 animals.  That means millions of animals were never born that would have ended up in shelters and added strain and expense to an unfunded non-profit system.

This is a system that worked, helped animals, helped people and was paid for. In 2008, the governor stole $1 million from the fund and put it in the general fund, who knows where that money went, but it did not go to help animals. It’s time we stand up and tell our government to stop taking away service we care about for our companion animals.

We should not allow this important service to disappear in our state.  Other states have seen the value and success of similar programs and understand that spaying and neutering animals saves money because the puppies and kittens don't have to go to shelters.

We have recommended to legislators that they create a statewide non-profit entity that will collect funds from the $3 surcharge and give grants to veterinarians and organizations that wish to help low income people spay or neuter their pets.  The administration costs for the non-profit would be significantly lower than what the government has spent on the fund and would create a sustainable statewide spay/neuter system, but we need your help now!


Act now:

Contact your local Senators and Assembly members:

To find out who your senator is click here.  Enter your address and you will be told who your senator is.  Then call, write and e-mail and let them know you want the State's Spay and Neuter fund to be preserved.

To find out who your assembly member is click here.  You can enter your zip code and find out who your assembly members is, again, let them know you want the state spay/neuter fund to be saved.

Contact the governor:

David A. Paterson
State Capitol
Albany, NY 12224

Let him know that he was wrong to suggest eliminating the fund and he withdraw his recommendation.

Thank you for your support and please speak out for the animals, they have no voices of their own.

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