Whitfield County Animal Shelter receives $3,000 grant for sterilization of pets

Kevin Tankersley, right, of the Whitfield County Animal Shelter is shown with Georgia Department of Agriculture officials Gary W. Black, center, and Mark Murrah after the local shelter received a $3,000 grant to be used for the sterilization of pets.

Taking care of a pet can be rough on a person's budget sometimes.

That's why Whitfield County Animal Shelter Director Diane Franklin was excited when the shelter received a $3,000 grant this week to help pay for spaying and neutering local animals.

"We'd like to stretch these funds as far as we can," Franklin said. "Those residents who can't afford to sterilize their pets, we would really like to help them out."

To find out more about how to apply for the funds, call the animal shelter at (706) 278-2018.

"Local communities often have citizens who are burdened by the high costs of having their pets spayed or neutered," Georgia Department of Agriculture Commissioner Gary W. Black said. "This grant program does a wonderful job in targeting these communities all across Georgia in an effort to aid them as they strive to keep strays off the street and control the animal population in a humane manner."

Black said this is the fourth set of grants to be issued through the Dog and Cat Sterilization Program, which is funded by the purchase of the Dog and Cat Sterilization Auto Tag, income tax checkoff and direct contributions to the program.

Since its inception, the Dog and Cat Sterilization Program has been used to sexually alter more than 100,000 companion animals. The future of the program is now much more optimistic, according to Black, thanks to the restoration of full funding during the 2018 legislative session. As it stands now, $19 from the $25 purchase of a new plate and $20 of the $25 renewal is appropriated toward the program.

Black announced Monday the issuance of $425,000 in grants through the program, with 71 state-licensed animal shelters and animal rescue organizations being awarded the funds.

Grants range from $2,500 to $140,000 and were awarded based on the highest priority after considering factors such as targeting of important animal populations, ability to increase surgery numbers, cost-benefit ratio, record of grant applicant and sustainability, Black said.

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