Save Me

These female, four-months-old collie mix pups are available for adoption at the Laurel County Animal Shelter.

Because so many caring drivers purchased the Spay or Neuter your Pets license plates, the Animal Control Advisory Board has been able to budget $100,000 to help pay for spaying and neutering pets.

Kentucky pet owners with low incomes again will be able to receive vouchers from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture to help pay for the operations, Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer said.

A $100,000 appropriation for a pilot voucher program in the second half of 2005 was exhausted in six months.

“There was not any money budgeted for the program for 2006,” said David Coffey, animal control officer at the Laurel County Shelter.

“Pet owners want to do the right thing by spaying and neutering their pets,” Commissioner Farmer said. “The voucher program enables more people to do that. This program will reduce the number of unwanted animals in Kentucky. That will reduce the workload and expenses of local animal shelters. It also will make our communities safer. I am pleased to be able to reinstate this important program.”

Low-income pet owners may get a voucher application from the Laurel County Animal Shelter on KY 229, participating veterinarians, by calling the KDA toll-free at 1-888-297-9093 or searching

Applicants must return the completed application with proof of low income to the KDA. Once they are approved, participants will receive a voucher to go toward the cost of spaying or neutering their pets. Participants will be responsible for a $10 co-pay per procedure to be paid to the veterinarian.

The KDA reported 1,002 pet owners and 168 veterinarians participated in the program in 2005. The voucher program is funded with proceeds from the sale of spay and neuter license plates.

The plates are available for an initial fee of $25 and an annual renewal fee of $20.

Last year, Coffey applied for a $5,000 grant, which paid for 108 pets to be spayed or neutered in Laurel County. He has applied for this same grant, which he hopes to receive in the spring.

Between the voucher program and this upcoming grant, we hope to bring the unwanted pet population down to a minimum in Laurel County, Coffey noted.

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