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Washington Alliance for Humane Legislation

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The companion animal spay/neuter assistance bill, SSB 5202, did not pass the Washington State Senate by the February 18, 2014 cutoff. It received no further attention in the 2014 legislative session. We thank all bill advocates who contacted their state senators urging passage of the bill.

New: Before you vote in the August 2014 primary election, please take a look at what your candidates for the state legislature think about animal welfare issues. See the results of our candidate questionnaire here. Note: This is a large file, so it will take time to download.

We Need Spay/Neuter Legislation to Save Companion Animals' Lives


Homelessness is the single leading cause of death for healthy cats and dogs in the United States. About five million animals are killed in our country's shelters each year.  In Washington State, tens of thousands of cats and dogs are euthanized in Washington shelters each year.


The purpose of Washington's spay/neuter assistance legislation is to provide funding to assist low-income owners of cats and dogs to obtain affordable spay/neuter surgeries, and to provide for spay/neuter surgeries on feral and free-roaming cats.  The bill would not make spay/neuter surgery mandatory.


Reducing the number of animals killed in shelters each year is not just a matter of being humane.  It costs a lot of money to handle homeless animals in shelters and through animal control agencies and rescue organizations. Washington State taxpayers spend millions of dollars each year to handle these animals.


We need YOUR help.  Here are four things YOU can do


1.  Spread the word about the bill. Tell your friends and associates who care about companion animal welfare; ask your veterinarian to get behind this effort.  Post and distribute flyers at community locations, at community events; and ask retail stores, pet product stores, clinics, and other establishments to support the bill and have flyers on hand to give customers and clients.  Sign up, and ask other people to sign up for our newsletter.


2.  Become a spay/neuter bill advocate in your legislative district. We would like to have at least 20 people in each of Washington's 49 legislative districts become spay/neuter bill advocates.  Get the details here.


3. Support Save Washington Pets with a donation.  As an all-volunteer organization, we need help covering expenses to advocate and lobby for the animals.  Please click here to make a secure contribution to Save Washington Pets. 


4. Volunteer!  In addition to becoming an advocate, there are other ways to help.  If you would like to consider volunteering, please read our volunteer flyer, then get in touch with us.


Click the NEWS button for the latest information on the spay/neuter bill and other animal welfare bills that Save Washington Pets is supporting.  


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Spay/Neuter is the Sensible Solution

How Spay/Neuter Legislation Would Get the Job Done

The Benefits: Saving Lives and Saving Money

We Need Your Help!



Spay/Neuter is the Sensible Solution

Spay/Neuter. The most effective and humane way to reduce the number of animals dying in Washington's shelters is a targeted, statewide spay/neuter program.  Spay/neuter legislation will: 

1.  reduce the killing of homeless cats and dogs through an effective, targeted statewide spay/neuter network;


2.  reduce the burden on shelters, rescue organizations, and other public and non-profit animal welfare organizations that are overwhelmed with cats and dogs needing care and good homes and thereby reduce the costs to Washington taxpayers;


3.  reduce injuries and death, costs, and liability resulting from dog attacks, through financial support for spay/neuter surgeries; and


4.  save lives and humanely reduce the population of free-roaming, homeless, and feral cats through spay/neuter surgeries.

How Spay/Neuter Legislation Would Get the Job Done

Using a network of private, public, and non-profit clinics and services around the state, spay/neuter surgeries would be performed on the categories of animals most significantly contributing to the overpopulation crisis: cats and dogs belonging to low-income residents of Washington, and free-roaming or feral cats. 
There are an estimated 1.66 million to 1.86 million unaltered cats and dogs in Washington State. The majority of surgeries performed under the bill would be performed on cats and dogs belonging to low-income residents of Washington. Low-income pet owners are the least likely to be able to afford spay/neuter surgery costs for their pets, and are most likely to own pets that have unplanned litters of kittens or puppies. 

The Benefits: Saving Lives and Saving Money

Similar programs have been established in other states, including Connecticut, Delaware, Ilinois, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont. The New Hampshire program was started in 1994 and in its first few years a 34-percent decrease in shelter admissions and a 75-percent decrease in euthanasia were reported. New Hampshire has also reported a savings from animal impoundment costs due to its program. As these states have shown, there is a better way to address the pet overpopulation crisis. An aggressive spay/neuter program is the more humane and effective solution.

Ending euthanasia of healthy dogs and cats is the primary goal of the bill. However, there are other key benefits to establishing a statewide spay/neuter program.

Reduced animal care and control, and shelter costs. Controlling the cat and dog population will help save taxpayers' dollars by reducing the number of animals handled by local animal care and control agencies. One Washington shelter reported the average cost to handle an animal is $93. Stray animal pickup and delivery to the shelter costs an additional $150 to $200. For every animal that is not handled by animal control or shelters, the savings can be significant. For that reason alone, spay/neuter legislation will save Washington's cities and counties millions of dollars in animal control costs over the long run.

Reduced dog bites, suffering, and costs:  $356 million in claims.  Nearly two percent of the US population, or 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs each year. In 2003, the Insurance Information Institute reported that dog bites accounted for a quarter of all homeowner's liability claims, totaling $321.6 million. In 2007, the claims total had risen to $356 million. Research has shown that unaltered dogs are much more likely to cause human injury from bites than altered dogs. A study using data collected in Multnomah County, Oregon, showed that unaltered female dogs were about ten times as likely to be reported for bite injuries than spayed female dogs, while unaltered male dogs were about seven times as likely to be reported for bite injuries than neutered male dogs. (Overall, male dogs were more likely to cause bite injuries than female dogs.) Although several factors are related to dog bite incidents, the status of dogs as either intact or spayed/neutered is significant. By increasing the spaying and neutering of dogs by making surgery accessible and affordable, we can expect a reduced number of dog bites and injuries, less pain and suffering, lost time, legal costs, and liability.
We Need Your Help!

Get more information, let us know what you think, and get on our mailing list if you have not done so already.  Please tell others about this website and encourage them sign up for our newsletter too. Thank you!