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County could expand spay and neuter assistance

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By Christopher Brooke, Reporter

HILLSVILLE — Twin County Humane Society members asked Carroll County to help control pet overpopulation with a program like ones already in place in Hillsville and Galax.
While Hillsville has received a $70,000 PetSmart grant to spay and neuter companion animals, humane society representative Betty Sutton asked the Carroll Board of Supervisors for something more like Galax’s program.
Galax commits funds in its budget to help citizens spay and neuter their pets, she explained.
“That is the idea that Carroll County could help curb overpopulation of cats and dogs by reimbursing citizens through the dog tag money as they do over in Galax,” Sutton said. “The city of Galax reimburses if you live within the city limits.”
Citizens can take the receipt from the veterinarian to the city offices, and officials will reimburse them up to $50 for the procedure on cats and dog.
Hillsville’s grant covers the entire 24343 zip code including areas of Carroll County, which leaves the other parts of the county out of the loop, she said.
So, Sutton asked the supervisors to take the money raised by citizens buying their dog licenses from the county and put it towards a new spay-neuter reimbursement program.
Animal Control Officer Terry Woods noted that Carroll officials cooperated on getting the PetSmart grant for zip code 24343.
Though the town is serving as the fiscal agent, Woods said about 70 percent of the 24343 zip code population lives in the county. That means the PetSmart grant can help many county citizens.
That grant has helped spay and neuter 503 dogs and cats so far, Sutton told the county officials.
Another funding source is the pet-friendly vehicle license plate, from which Carroll County gets a percentage of the tags that are sold, Woods said. That’s a total of $1,368 that can go to the Twin County Humane Society to help with spay and neuter efforts.
From what he understands, Woods said that Galax’s reimbursement effort started with just helping with the spay and neuter of pets adopted from the regional animal shelter by city residents.
Now, he believes that Galax budgets about $2,500 to help all citizens with spaying and neutering their pets, Woods said. They’ve spent about $1,800 of that line item this year.
County staff will gather more information, like the revenues available from dog tag sales, and report back to the county board on the possibilities at a future meeting.