Our prices are going up and we want you to know why!

Press Release
December 14, 2015
Penny Wallace

We regret to have to announce that the NC General Assembly changed the rules for applying to use the NC Spay/Neuter Program. This program was established in 2001 to assist low-income pet owners to get their pets spayed or neutered affordably. Spay/Neuter is the best way to reduce the numbers of unwanted and homeless pets. The money for this fund is provided by a $250,000 per year allocation from the NC Department of Agriculture budget and sales of the I Care License plates adds to the fund. The fund then uses a formula based on numbers of surgeries per capita and splits the funds based on NC Economic Tiers across the agencies applying for the funds. Here’s how it worked in 2014 (data taken from the Program’s website).
Total Reimbursement applied for by spay/neuter clinics in NC for 2014: $725,804
(Only $250,000 is provided from state funds.)
Total Reimbursed 2014: $418,605
($250,000 was provided by state funds and was $168,605 given by those who choose to buy the I Care license plate.)
Total Number of Procedures 2014: 11,873 pets owned by low-income families were altered.
(Of these, 926 pets were from Haywood County. Total altered through HS/N in 2014 were – 474 owned cats, 730 owned dogs, and 835 free-roaming cats - total 2,039).
“Note that the agencies providing low-cost spay/neuter services paid $307,199 more than they were reimbursed. Most of those organizations use donated and grant money to cover those costs. Simply put, the program’s impact is doubled by freely given money,” said Penny Wallace, H S/N treasurer.

Since 2010 when Haywood Spay/Neuter was officially named as Haywood County’s official spay/neuter program we have provided low-cost surgeries for 7,317 owned cats and dogs. Because we were able to apply for reimbursements from the NC Spay/Neuter Program, we were able to use funds provided by our supporters and grants to spay/neuter 3,525 non-owned cats, which has led to a huge decrease in cats entering and being euthanized at the shelter.

The changes dictated by the General Assembly were:
  • decrease from 300% of Federal Poverty Level Guidelines (FPL) to less than 100% FPL to qualify for reimbursement
  • eliminating use of EBT (food stamp) cards and Medicaid cards as proof of income
  • a requirement that all county vets be invited to participate in the program and keeping documentation sufficient to prove that the offer had been made.
Connie Hewitt, H S/N President, said, “That requirement costs the county staff time, postage and record keeping space that is not reimbursed.” “On top of that,” she continued, “the maximum reimbursements under the NC Spay/Neuter Program are lower than the average charged by most, if not all, of the vets. And there is no guarantee that they will be paid even the maximum!”

Ms. Wallace added, “I don’t know what the other agencies across the state are planning to do, but we’re sticking it out to be sure as many of our clients as possible will get low-cost spay/neuter. We have already asked our legislators to stand up for their constituents and reverse this change during the legislative short session beginning in April.”

H S/N anticipates that across the state the amount paid in reimbursements will decrease as much as 40%. Which means that H S/N will have to increase its surgery charges for 2016 since they refuse to increase their across the board $10 fee until then. The reduced reimbursements will mean that more money will be needed from donors and other sources to keep the costs as low as possible for as many as possible. It will also mean that other programs that provide spay/neuter and vaccinations for free roaming community cats may have to be cut back. “It’s a shame that so many low-income people who love and care for pets are victimized by this unfair and unreasonable cut back,” said Connie Hewitt.

Effective January 1, 2016, the Spay/Neuter rates will be as follows:
Federal Poverty Income LevelPrice
Up to 100%$10 for all pets and includes rabies vaccination
Between 101% and 300%$20 for first pet, $15 for second, $10 for each subsequent pet done on the same date. Includes rabies vaccination
301% and aboveWhat we are charged by Humane Alliance. Currently $50 for spay/neuter and $6.50 for each vaccination requested.