Author Topic: NH - Law could create a 'fix' of a problem for animal owners  (Read 576 times)


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NH - Law could create a 'fix' of a problem for animal owners
« on: March 28, 2008, 12:49:43 PM »

DOVER - Legislation looking to do away with some state-subsidized spaying and neutering vouchers has local animal experts concerned.

Sharp increases in the number of cats and dogs needing good homes are among the greatest fears of people such as Martha Hewitt, executive director of the Cocheco Valley Humane Society.

In a worst-case scenario, unmanageable increases in homeless animals - particularly cats - could lead to euthanization, a final sort of solution Hewitt has thus-far been able to avoid, helping the state maintain what is currently the lowest animal euthanization rate in the country.

Proposed by state Rep. Roger Wells, R-Hampstead, the legislation calls for eliminating the New Hampshire Animal Control Program "Plan A," which provides all families adopting animals from shelters like Cocheco, or the New Hampshire SPCA in Stratham, with vouchers to help cover veterinary costs of either procedure.

"I don't think we really need to be subsidizing the people who can well afford it," Wells said last week.

But Roni McCall, of the Governor's Commission on the Humane Treatment of Animals, along with Hewitt, fears those who aren't given vouchers won't get their pets spayed or neutered.

"For a lot of shelters, it is hard to give that voucher out to someone driving a Mercedes or a Hummer," McCall said. "But we will have so many more unwanted puppies and kittens being abandoned by owners who can't or won't spay or neuter their pets."

With the growing financial strain burdening lower- and middle-class families - exacerbated by falling house values, as well as rising gas and grocery prices - locals say eliminating such a subsidy would give rise to negative, widespread ramifications.

"We've been pretty lucky right now, and we have not had to kill any of the animals," Hewitt said. "But, we don't know what the future holds ... for lower-income and middle-class people, this is going to be a real strain on them."

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Jennifer Walker
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