Rosenthal Animal Spay and Neuter Program Included in Budget Agreement

June 18, 2010

New York, NY – New York State Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF, Manhattan) proudly announces that her legislation creating a low-cost animal spay and neuter program in New York City has been included in the Transportation and Economic Development budget scheduled to be passed today by the New York State Assembly. The idea for the fund came from legislation Rosenthal originally passed in 2009, bill A6158-A.

“After passing a bill in the Assembly last year creating a New York City spay and neuter program, I am excited that my legislation has been incorporated into the legislature’s budget agreement,” said Assembly Rosenthal. “New York City needs an autonomous, effective and efficient program to keep shelter populations under control and prevent animals from being euthanized. This budget process has been frustrating, but I am gratified that the end result creates this worthy program for our city’s animals.”

The creation of the fund comes as New York State’s dire fiscal standing led to the disbanding of the statewide Animal Population Control Fund (APCF), a successful low-cost spay and neuter program that offered subsidies using revenue collected from surcharges on license fees for unspayed or unneutered dogs and from specialized vanity license plates. Although it served as a model for similar programs nationwide, subsidy requests exceeded revenue-raising capacity and the account was subsequently frozen.

As a result, the fund will be abandoned in the 2010-2011 fiscal year budget and New York State municipalities will instead be allowed to create localized versions of the program. All revenue already contributed to the state fund by the city will be deposited directly into the newly created city fund. Assemblymember Rosenthal’s program will be administered by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the revenues will be managed by the office of the NYC Comptroller.

Other New York State municipalities will be allowed to voluntarily enact similar programs and will be offered seed money to initiate this process. Funding from dog licenses in localities that do not create their own funds will provide this startup capital.

“I regret the termination of the statewide Animal Population Control Fund (APCF), which was an unqualified success and generated exceptional demand for the low-cost spay and neuter services it provided,” said Rosenthal. “While I hope municipalities statewide establish their own versions of this now-defunct program, my highest priority is making New York City a leader in the humane treatment and management of animal populations.”

Assemblymember Rosenthal (D/WF) represents the Upper West Side of Manhattan and parts of Clinton/Hell’s Kitchen.