Veterinary - Spay and Neuter Program FAQS

Spay and Neuter Program Frequently Asked Questions

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The Spay/Neuter Program is intended “to foster the spaying and neutering of dogs and cats for the purpose of reducing the population of unwanted animals in the State.” The program has two parts: education and local spay/neuter assistance.

Cities and counties are eligible to apply for reimbursement of direct costs of spays & neuters of cats and dogs owned by low-income persons. Cities and counties may contract with a private veterinarian(s), a spay/neuter clinic operated by the county or city, or a spay/neuter clinic operated by a private organization(s). These contracted entities may be located within the jurisdiction or outside of the jurisdiction.

The program cannot provide direct reimbursement to individuals, veterinarians, or private organizations such as humane societies or SPCAs.

The city or county must provide a year-round program to reduce the cost of spaying or neutering dogs or cats owned by low-income people. The program can consist of one or more of the following:

  • a spay/neuter clinic operated by the county or city;
  • a spay/neuter clinic operated by a private organization under contract or other arrangement with the county or city;
  • a contract or contracts with one or more veterinarians, whether or not located within the county, to provide reduced-cost spaying and neutering services;
  • assistance with (subvention of) the spaying and neutering costs incurred by low-income pet owners through the use of vouchers or other procedures that provide a discount on the cost charged by a participating veterinarian or other provider;
  • assistance with (subvention of) the spaying and neutering costs incurred by people who adopt a pet from an animal shelter operated by or under contract with the city or county

Yes, the statute requires that the program operate year-round.

Cities or counties may receive reimbursement for the direct cost of an eligible procedure. Reimbursable costs include anesthesia, medication and veterinary services.

Administrative costs are not reimbursable. Capital expenditures for facilities and equipment associated with the provision of the procedure are not reimbursable.

No, not necessarily. If there is not sufficient money in the fund to pay 100% of the amounts requested, a formula was created by the General Assembly to pay requests based upon certain criteria. In this event, fifty percent (50%) of the available funds in the Spay/Neuter Account shall be reserved for reimbursement for eligible applicants within development tier one areas as defined in G.S. 143B‑437.08. The remaining fifty percent (50%) of the funds shall be used to fund reimbursement requests from eligible applicants in development tier two and three areas as defined in G.S. 143B‑437.08.

Distribution of funds will no longer be based on rabies vaccines effective for the fourth quarter reimbursements of 2013. Funds will be distributed in proportion to spay/neuter procedures per one thousand people in that city or county as compared to the total rate of spay/neuter procedures per one thousand people for the city/county's respective Tier Group (either Tier 1 or Tiers 2/3). Additionally, reimbursement for each surgical procedure will not be more than 150% of the average reimbursement for each procedure type (cat spay, dog spay, cat neuter, dog neuter) from the prior calendar year. These will be the maximum amounts that can be reimbursed for each procedure type, and are as follows for the calendar year of 2023:

Dog Spay: $174.77

Cat Spay: $124.70

Dog Neuter: $148.77

Cat Neuter: $96.69

The definition of “low-income” is "an individual who qualifies for one or more of the programs of public assistance administered by the Department of Health and Human Services pursuant to Chapter 108A of the General Statutes or whose annual household income is lower than one hundred percent (100%) of the federal poverty level guidelines published by the United States Department of Health and Human Services".

Eligible cities and counties must submit the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services application form for reimbursement, postmarked by the last day of the month following each quarterly reimbursement period (by January 31st, April 30th, July 31st, and October 31st), in order to receive a distribution from the fund for that quarter.

NCDA&CS has 30 days to make payment from the end of the closing date for receipt of the application for each quarter.

Funding is voluntary and comes mainly from two sources.

  1. You may request a special “I Care” Animal Lovers license plate for your car. The plate will include additional fees over the usual cost of a license plate. A $20 fee will be paid into the Spay/Neuter Fund from the sale of each “I Care” Animal Lovers license plate. Information about requesting the license plate is available online from the Division of Motor Vehicles. Click the button for Specialized License Plates. It is listed as "Animal Lovers."
  2. Additionally, $250,000 will be transferred yearly from the Animal Feed and Pet Food Branch, Food and Drug Protection Division to the Spay/Neuter Account.