Pet overpopulation is a very real issue in Florida. As the human population rises, so does that of pets, many of which are not spayed or neutered. To help keep pet populations under control, and to help pets live long and healthy lives, spay and neuter assistance programs are needed at animal shelters and pet rescue organizations across Florida.
Though the cost of spay and neuter surgeries can be high, especially for animal shelters that often take on much of the cost, there is financial help through the Florida Animal Friend grant. Paid for by Florida residents who select to use, or renew, a Florida Animal Friend license plate on their vehicle, the fund is sustained each year (at $25 per plate) and we’re able to keep providing grants to qualifying animal shelters and rescue organizations.
Read on to find out why, and how, you should apply for a Florida Animal Friend grant to help fund a new or existing spay-neuter assistance program in Florida.
The Importance of Spay and Neuter Assistance Programs
Spay and neuter assistance programs help keep pets healthy while also preventing pet overpopulation. Pets that are not spayed or neutered can produce unexpected litters of puppies or kittens, many of which end up in animal shelters around the state as pet owners are not prepared to, or capable of, caring for additional pets. The more pets we can collectively keep out of shelters the better as it helps pets live long, healthy lives, both mentally and physically.
For some, the cost of spay or neuter surgery might be affordable, but for others there may be challenges in paying the cost, causing some to forgo the surgery altogether. However, if the spay or neuter surgery is offered at a low cost or if it is free, low-income pet owners will have both the means and encouragement to care for their pet in this way.
Grant Funded Categories
There are several categories that grant funding supports, and each provides a benefit to animal shelters, rescue organizations, and low-cost pet care clinics.
Programs for Pets in Low-Income Families
While the benefits of pet ownership can be great, for some the cost is just out of reach. Because of this, many shelters provide spay and neuter programs for pets in low-income families. To help offset the cost, Florida Animal Friend offers grants that are available to organizations that provide assistance for spay-neuter services.
Community cats may not be part of a human family, but they live outdoors and receive basic care and food from caring neighborhood residents. To keep community cat populations low, trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs are offered at animal shelters and rescue organizations. Helpful residents can trap community cats and bring them to the shelter for spay-neuter assistance programs, and then return the animal to where it was retrieved. Low or no-cost spay and neuter programs help offset the cost since there is often no one to pay for the surgery. The Florida Animal Friend grant also provides financial awards to shelters and rescue organizations that provide spay-neuter services for feral cats.
Large Breed Dog Sterilization
The cost of spay-neuter surgery for larger dogs can be much greater than it is for smaller pets, which can make it too expensive for low-income families and for shelters or rescues to absorb. Because of this, many shelters, rescue organizations, and low-cost clinics help provide spay and neuter services at discounted or no-cost rates to large dog owners, helping reduce future populations of unwanted large dogs.
New Spay Neuter Services
Grants are also available for animal shelters, rescue organizations, and low-cost clinics that would like to begin providing spay and neuter services but do not currently. The grant provides incentive to start the program and help community members and their pets.
Awarding the Grants
Each spring, municipal and non-profit agencies are encouraged to submit funding proposals for spay-neuter projects throughout Florida. The grant review committee reviews each proposal and its required documents, and scores it on the following criteria:
- targeting of important animal populations
- ability to increase surgery numbers above the existing baseline
- cost to benefit ratio
- track record of the applicant
Based on the criteria scores and reviewer comments, the Florida Animal Friend Board of Directors establishes a funding priority list and awards funding based on the highest ranked proposal and then proceeding down the list until funds are exhausted. The maximum award for each proposal is $25,000.
How is the Grant Funded?
Funding for the Florida Animal Friend grant is provided by the sale and renewal of the Florida Animal friend license plate. The full cost after DMV fees, which is a total of $25 for each plate, goes directly toward the grant award fund — and only toward that. Do your part to support Florida’s spay and neuter programs by requesting a Florida Animal Friend license plate today.