Animal welfare advocates were stunned when Jackson County recently defunded an aggressive, five-year effort to spay and neuter dogs and cats belonging to low-income pet owners.
County legislators’ main rationale: At a time of austerity, they were duty-bound to put the needs of people ahead of pets when spending tax dollars.
Yet critics call the move pennywise and pound foolish when the point of the program was to reduce the number of puppies and kittens born to pets belonging to the very people least likely to have their pets fixed without financial help. And where do those unwanted litters wind up but in animal shelters funded by city and county taxpayers?
“It’s a whole lot cheaper for the public to spay and neuter than it is to keep and take care of them,” said Jennifer Polston, supervisor of the Independence Animal Shelter.