DOAG: ANIMAL POPULATION CONTROL PROGRAM REDUCES OVERPOPULATION AND INFECTIOUS ANIMAL DISEASES




May 2, 2018

ANIMAL POPULATION CONTROL PROGRAM

REDUCES OVERPOPULATION AND INFECTIOUS ANIMAL DISEASES


Nathan M. Wilson, Office of the Commissioner

 

Since 1996, the Department of Agriculture (DoAg)’s Animal Population Control Program (APCP) has provided benefits to more than 200,000 companion pets here in Connecticut.


Due to the APCP there has been a constant decline in the number of dogs and cats requiring impoundment at municipal facilities, a reduction in the state’s feral cat population, and a continued level of assistance to pets owned by low-income residents.


The impoundment rate is down 43%, the adoption rate is down 23% (less pets mean fewer adoptions), euthanasia is down 77%, and redemptions are 47% lower.


The goals of the APCP is to reduce the overpopulation of dogs and cats in Connecticut and to increase the level of immunization against infectious animal diseases. To accomplish these goals, the APCP provides sterilization and vaccination benefits for dogs and cats to (1) Connecticut residents for dogs and cats adopted from municipal pounds, (2) low income residents for dogs and cats that they own, and (3) non-profit organizations engaged in activities aimed at reducing the population of feral cats. 


Connecticut is one of only a few states to provide a companion pet sterilization program administered by a state agency for municipal pound animals, feral cats, and pets owned by low-income individuals.


Vouchers are issued at the municipal pound for unsterilized dogs/cats to Connecticut residents who must pay a $50 fee ($45 voucher/$5 municipality).  The voucher is good for sixty days from the adoption date and provides a one-time sterilization subsidy of $50 for a male cat, $70 for a female cat, $100 for a male dog, and $120 for a female dog. 


In addition, two coincident pre-surgical vaccinations are provided with the sterilization. The APCP also provides vouchers to Connecticut low-income residents to subsidize sterilization and vaccination costs for owned pets, and to non-profit organizations for the sterilization and vaccination of feral cats.


Pet overpopulation is a significant burden on the limited resources of municipalities.  Assistance provided by the APCP is reducing the overpopulation of dogs and cats, and increasing the level of immunizations of the state’s pet population against infectious diseases. This has had a positive effect on local public health and safety. 


A reduction in animal birth rates, coupled with higher immunization levels, decreases the risk of transmission of rabies and other infectious diseases not only from animal to animal but also from animals to people.


Additionally, the reduction in animal overpopulation allows municipalities to shift resources to focus their efforts on enforcement of animal control laws and on educational outreach regarding responsible pet ownership.


The APCP has a dedicated account and receives no money from the state’s general fund. Revenue is received from the annual surcharge on Connecticut dog licenses ($2.00 sterilized/$6.00 unsterilized), the $45 mandatory voucher fee from pound adoptions, proceeds from the sale of the “caring for pets” commemorative license plate, and donations. 


For Fiscal Year 2017 a program total of $730,670 was received—$489,234 from the dog license surcharge revenue, $177,760 from the pound program adoption fee, and $27,115 from the sale of the DMV “caring for pets” commemorative license plate.


In Fiscal Year 2017, the APCP processed vouchers for 6,665 animals (2,651 dogs and 4,014 cats) from municipal impound facilities, pets owned by low-income Connecticut residents, and feral cats from non-profit organizations. Benefits were provided to 4,770 pets (1,731 dogs and 3,039 cats) for a 72% sterilization rate. In Fiscal Year 2017, 248 practices were certified to participate in the APCP, encompassing over 600 individual veterinarians.


The APCP low-income program issued 2,189 vouchers to qualifying individuals, of which 1,207, or 55%, were redeemed. One thousand thee hundred and twenty-eight vouchers were issued for cats, completing 763 sterilizations. Eight hundred and sixty-one vouchers were issued for dogs resulting in 441 sterilizations.


The APCP feral cat program issued 950 vouchers to thirty-four non-profit organizations. A total of 896 were used for a 94% overall sterilization rate. Every county in the state was represented, reflecting 70 towns and cities.  Feral cat totals per county are as follows: Fairfield 188, New Haven 296, Hartford 185, New London 99, Windham 59, Litchfield 28, Tolland 16, and Middlesex 25.


The DoAg’s APCP provides an important function for cities and towns across Connecticut. For over twenty years the program has benefited many residents helping them with crucial preventive care for their pets.


Information about the program, regulations, certification applications for veterinary practices, feral cat grant, low-income, and dog license applications can be found on the APCP website at www.ct.gov/doag/apcp.