KINGWOOD – A $5,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant allowed county residents to spay/neuter their pets last year, and the county is reapplying for 2019.
County Administrator Kathy Mace. Mace said Friday she is in the process of reapplying for the grant.
“I’m not sure about the amount of funds we might receive this year,” she said “It’s a ranked grant and Preston County is ranked as a transitional county. Counties ranked as distressed get more funds than transitional ones.”
Mace said when a dog or cat is spayed or neutered they also receive their vaccinations. “We are trying to help people get their pets spayed or neutered and vaccinated,” Mace said. “This is one of the largest expenses a pet owner faces.”
There is no income guideline for individuals who received vouchers under the grant. Mace said the highest income recorded among recipients was $45,000 and the lowest $4,000, with an average income of $18,000.
“We have an anonymous donor who matched the $5,000 grant but wanted the money used only for cats, Mace said. “This allowed us to use the grant for dogs and the money from the donor for cats.”
She said 22 dogs were spayed or neutered under the grant program. Ten were female and 12 were male. A total of 33 cats were spayed or neutered, Mace said.
Mace said the anonymous donor indicated he or she would match the new grant up to $5,000 for cats.
She said during the last grant the county had only two vets who accepted the vouchers. Neither worked with large dogs.
The grant required that vets from West Virginia be used. Mace is working to increase the number of veterinarians who will work with the county. “This year I believe we’ll have a local vet who will take larger animals,” she said.
“We’re very thankful to the anonymous donor who is willing to work with us and match our grant,” Mace said.
The grant does not cover animals at the Preston County Animal Shelter. It is only available to county residents who have pets. Mace said the Preston County Humane Society donated $300 to the shelter to help with its spay/neuter program. All pets adopted from the shelter must be spayed or neutered.