Rep. Bacon: Increasing access to spay and neuter services

Posted by: Hannah Carlock  | Monday, August 8, 2016 8:40 am

Every year, nearly 125,000 dogs and cats are taken in by animal shelters in Indiana, and nearly 40 percent of these homeless animals are euthanized. This alarming number, provided by the Spay-Neuter Services of Indiana, can be reduced through sterilization.

Our state invests significant resources in animal control efforts. Stray and roaming animals are usually poorly cared for and can be carriers of disease, and some of these diseases can be transmitted from animals to people. Stray animals also pose a threat to healthy pets and livestock. Then there’s nuisance problems, like spraying from cats, fecal pollution, and aggression toward citizens who are out for a walk or playing in our parks. 

Private and public animal care and control facilities work tirelessly to find responsible owners for homeless animals. But, they are facing an uphill battle. There are still a lot of people who allow cats and dogs to reproduce with little chance of finding homes for offspring.

Many citizens also dedicate personal time, finances and resources to reduce pet overpopulation and euthanasia.

Lawmakers are stepping up their efforts by tasking the board of animal health to establish a registry of animal care facilities. This will foster better communication between state officials and the number of rescue groups across Indiana. Policymakers are working to also obtain more comprehensive data concerning the number of homeless animals in our state and euthanasia rates. As of July 1, 2021, all dogs and cats in animal care facilities must be spayed or neutered before adoption. This will considerably help regulate the animal population.

While some communities offer low-cost, sometimes even free, spay and neuter services, people in rural communities may not be able to access these resources. Perhaps we can incentivize more home-town veterinarians to provide free spay and neuter services by offering them tax credits. These tax credits could help cover their overhead costs associated with the services, and some of the heavy financial burdens placed on the state could be offset. I plan on presenting a bill to do just this during next year’s legislative session.

As we all work to combat pet overpopulation, please be part of the solution by always spaying and neutering your pets, adopting pets from legitimate shelters or rescue groups, and encouraging others to do the same. And remember, thoroughly consider the responsibilities and consequences of pet ownership before deciding to adopt – it’s a lifetime commitment.

For questions or input, contact me at 317-232-9833 or by email at h75@iga.in.gov.

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Rep. Ron Bacon (R-Chandler) represents portions of Warrick, Pike and Spencer counties.

A high-resolution photo of Bacon can be downloaded by clicking here.