Paws for thought: Tax return check-off will help cover shelters’ costs

By From page A4 | March 19, 2013

Daniele Yantos, left, meets Jewels, an Australian shepherd, at the city of Sacramento Animal Care Services’ pet adoption event on Museum Day. Jewels was the first adoption of the day. Jewels is now enjoying the good life in her forever home with Daniele and Mark Yantos. Courtesy photo

Want to feel good while paying your California income taxes? Donate to the Municipal Shelter Spay-Neuter Fund and prevent pet overpopulation. Just check line 412 in the “voluntary contributions” box, and write in the amount you’d like to donate. You will have helped to reduce the euthanasia rate for thousands of California pets.

According to Assemblyman Cameron Smyth’s video, more than 870,000 dogs and cats entered shelters in 2010 at a cost of more than $250 million. This year’s funding goal is to double last year’s donations of nearly $250,000.

The California Municipal Shelter Spay-Neuter Fund grants municipal animal shelters additional money to provide low-cost or free spay/neuter services for dogs and cats owned by members of the public. These funds supplement existing funding sources, so they are a genuine addition to a shelter’s financial resources.

Eligible municipal shelters must be current on reporting requirements to the state Department of Public Health’s Veterinary Public Health Section and offer low-cost or free spay services to owners of dogs and cats. Grants are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis and will be announced by July.

Year-round low-cost spay/neuter programs in municipal animal shelters are a must. Yes, the good news is that our local Spay Day efforts resulted in 730 pets being altered in Yolo and Sacramento counties. However, there are many more pets that need this surgery and, with the arrival of spring, that number will increase and so will the financial burden on local animal shelters.

Consider this: Dogs and cats have litters of five to 10 but they are adopted one at a time. Sheltering costs include salaries, utilities and supplies as well as housing and health care for animals. The result? Unwanted pets cost taxpayers millions of dollars annually. In fact, according to the Social Compassion in Legislation Fact Sheet, $1 billion are spent every four years in housing alone. So, go to line 412 in the “voluntary contributions” box of your California tax form and donate what you can. Doing so will save lives as well as save you money.

Happy Tails: The California Automobile Museum and Animal Care Services are both on Sacramento’s Front Street. This year, they teamed up on Museum Day with an adoption event for shelter animals. Daniele Yantos, a museum volunteer, was directing traffic as Julie, an Australian shepherd, was brought across the street for the adoption event. It was love at first sight! Daniele had long wanted an Australian shepherd and it didn’t matter that Julie was a senior dog with a few health issues. Julie was the first adoption of the day. Renamed “Jewels,” she is now in a loving, forever home with Daniele and Mark Yantos.

Daniele writes, “Jewels has been a great source of smiles and general adorableness in our house. We play tug-of-war often with her, using a rope toy. She still loves the ball from the shelter. We also got her a plastic water bottle cover that looks like a rodent of some sort, which she enjoys.  She is responding well to commands and training.

“Overall, we are very pleased that we brought her into our home. She has been great on walks around our neighborhood and we have only heard her bark a handful of times so we’re pleased that she’s not too noisy for the neighbors. She’s also been great when she meets any of our family; she’s been very gentle.”

— Evelyn Dale of Davis is a volunteer and advocate for shelter animal welfare; her column is published monthly. Contact her at [email protected]

Evelyn Dale

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