As of December 31, 2022, we are happy to report that shelter intake has been reduced by 27%, and shelter euthanasia reduced by 62% since this program's implementation in 2014. We are incredibly grateful to the pet food industry for helping so many of Maryland's dogs and cats stay healthy and happy, through this innovative and successful program.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is this Program?
The Spay and Neuter Grants Program was designed to reduce the number of cats and dogs surrendered to and euthanized in shelters across Maryland, by providing grants to local governments and non-profit animal welfare organizations, who will then provide free spay and neuter services to pet cats and dogs of low-income Marylanders, and for colonies of feral and free-roaming, unowned cats. Established by Senate Bill 820 and House Bill 767 (SB820/HB767) in the Maryland General Assembly's 2013 legislative session, the Program was extended a further 10 years in the 2022 legislative session, by Senate Bill 206 and House Bill 191 (SB206/HB191).
What is this fee, and why am I getting this invoice?
As mandated by SB820, a fee is levied on all pet food companies that sell their cat or dog feed in Maryland. In the first year, companies paid $50/product. In 2014 the fee increased to $75/product; and in 2015, the fee increased to $100/product, where it is capped.
Any pet food manufacturer who sells cat or dog feed and treats in Maryland is required to register/renew their products for sale with the Maryland State Chemist's Office, annually. Their Program has an annual fee which is assessed/due in spring each year, to offset the costs associated with ensuring the products are safe for consumption, and properly labeled for sale.
The Spay and Neuter Grant Program sends invoices to these same registrants annually in October, with fees due by November 30 of each year, at the current rate of $100 per product. The list of companies and products is provided by the State Chemist's Office.
Do I have to pay this fee, or can I pay less?
These fees are legislatively mandated and must be paid in full annually.
Who decides where the money goes?
As part of 2013's SB820, the Maryland State Secretary of Agriculture appointed a Spay and Neuter Advisory Board (SNAB), to help formulate the regulations and program guidelines, and to provide annual grant funding recommendations to the Secretary.
Members of the SNAB include the Maryland Secretary of Agriculture (or their designee), a representative of a private animal shelter, a representative of the pet food industry, a veterinarian, a representative of an animal control agency, and two representatives of animal welfare organizations. The SNAB reviews and scores the applications once the Program Coordinator has completed their due diligence review. At an annual meeting, typically held in August, the SNAB determines the funding levels for each program and makes their funding recommendations to the Maryland State Secretary of Agriculture for approval.
How can I see where the money goes?
Transparency is vitally important to the State of Maryland and the Program. There are several reports publicly available to see how the decisions are made, where the funds go, and project overviews.
- On the Reports page you will find SNAB meeting agendas and minutes, Program annual reports, each year of funded projects, and other miscellaneous reports.
- On the Final Reports page you will find individual project final reports, submitted by grantees.
Something is incorrect on my invoice (address, product list, etc) - who do I contact?
The data used to generate your invoice comes from the MD State Chemist's Office database, so any updates or corrections to your information should be directed to their department. Please also include the Spay and Neuter Grants Program Coordinator, Jen Swanson, on your email.
How/where do I send payment?
Please mail a copy of your invoice, along with a check or money order made payable to the MD Department of Agriculture, to:
MD Department of Agriculture
Spay and Neuter Grants Program
P.O. Box 17304
Baltimore, MD 21297-1304
This program cannot currently accept payment by credit card, and does not have an online payment/invoicing portal.
Payments for this program should not be combined or included with your payments to the State Chemist's Office or any other agency or department.
Invoices are mailed annually in the first week of October, and payment in full is due by November 30 of each year.