dog and cat cuddling

On Tuesday, the West Virginia Department of Agriculture released a list of 55 organizations receiving state funds through the West Virginia Spay and Neuter Assistance Program.

The funds totaled nearly $420,000 across the state.

“We saw an increase of roughly $50,000 in additional funds available to the program. With matching dollars, 49 counties will have access to $694,909 to help control local animal populations,” said West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt in a news release. “Clearly, cities and counties see this as an issue that must be dealt with.”

The awards come by way of fees accessed to pet food registration in the state made possible by West Virginia House Bill 2552 passed in 2017.

Locally, six organizations received awards across The Register-Herald's seven-county distribution area: Animal Control & Welfare Project in Hinton; Friends of Feral and Homeless Cats and Kittens in Alderson; the Greenbrier County Humane Society in Lewisburg; Monroe County Animal League in Union; the New River Humane Society in Fayetteville; and Operation Underdog in Cool Ridge.

“We hear all the time from humane societies and municipalities they need help maintaining feral and domestic populations in West Virginia. With state assistance, these entities can tackle this problem without putting a huge stress on their limited budgets,” said WVDA Chief of Staff Norman Bailey in the release. “We are excited to see a lot of the matching contributions have come from private donations.”

In total, 71 applicants tried for the awards this year.

Last year, the program awarded 47 entities $367,680, leading to nearly 9,000 spay or neuter procedures. 

-- Email: mcombs@register-herald.com; follow on Twitter @mattcombsRH

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