“We are the country’s most livable city—for our people,” city council president Darlene Harris said, “we should be for our animals too.”
The program was suspended for a while in 2014 but it’s back in full swing now, and City of Pittsburgh residents can apply for up to five spays or neuters for dogs or cats totally free of charge at participating shelters.
In February 2012 Pittsburgh’s City Council approved a program sponsored by Council President Darlene Harris that provides vouchers for up to five pets per household to Pittsburgh residents (the city has a limit of five pets per residence). The bill allocated $170,000 toward the program, yet the city spends much more than that in combined animal control costs.
From the document “City of Pittsburgh Free Spay & Neuter Program” under Animal Control on the City of Pittsburgh website
2010 Data for City of Pittsburgh Animal Care and Control
$36,000 paid annually for Euthanization by a Veterinarian
# of Detained 2010 Detention Cost Total Annual Cost
Dogs 691 (45%) $ 197.00 $ 136,127
Cats 853 (55%) $ 197.00 $ 168,041
Total 1544* $ 304,168
* Only listing Dogs and Cats, internal invoices with ARL list 87 “other species”
Out of the TOTAL $170,000 Legislated toward the City of Pittsburgh Spay and Neuter Program:
• If Dogs are 45% of total detained = $ 76,500 / by avg. cost = 1092 Dogs
• If Cats are 55% of total detained = $ 93,500 / by avg. cost = 2833 Cats
TOTAL: $170,000 = 3925 Cats and Dogs
For half the amount spent in 2010 ($170k vs. $340k) on detaining and euthanizing the City of Pittsburgh would have altered more than twice as many (3925 vs. 1544) cats and dogs detained in 2010.
Research shows that a single spay surgery can save 55 unwanted animals from being born.
“The numbers of animals we were killing was very sad, I’d rather not bring them into the world if that’s what would happen,” said Harris. “What we were paying per animal to trap and surrender them to a shelter was as much if not more than it cost to spay or neuter them.”
It took several years to determine what would be the best way to manage the situation and Harris visited other cities and worked with the groups who were planning to make Pittsburgh a no-kill city. “We are the country’s most livable city—for our people,” Harris said, “we should be for our animals too.”
Council decided that spaying and neutering pets of city residents will result in reduced costs immediately and into the future. Stray and feral cats maintained outdoors are also included in the program if they are within city limits.
The numbers of cats and dogs picked up by the city’s Animal Care and Control—the name change was part of the plan—has decreased each year since the program began. In 2011, 826 dogs and 1,039 cats were brought in; in 2012, 700 dogs and 1,026 cats; in 2013, 585 dogs and 791 cats. The Animal Rescue League and Animal Friends participate in the program as surgery providers. In 2012 they provided surgery for 171 cats and 188 dogs; in 2013, 393 cats and 244 dogs.
How the program works
Determine residency: This program is available all year round to residents of all neighborhoods in the city of Pittsburgh. To determine if your neighborhood is within city limits, reference this neighborhood map.
Pet limits: Pet owners are limited to five surgeries per address because the city has a limit of five pets per residence.
Complete the application: Apply by completing an application for each cat or dog. Residents can also apply for feral cats if the colony is in the City of Pittsburgh.
Prove city residence: Pet owners and/or caregivers must prove city residence by showing—
- two bills with a valid city of Pittsburgh address
- a driver’s license or equivalent form of identification with a valid city address.
Applicants will be contacted with appointment place, date and time, and pre- and post-surgery instructions.
Caretakers may also purchase a microchip for a pet at the time of surgery for $3.00.
Read more about it, and if you are a City of Pittsburgh resident you can also download an application here: http://www.pittsburghpa.gov/animalcontrol/spay_neuter.htm.
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Cats and dogs can go into heat and successfully breed at FOUR MONTHS OF AGE.
You don’t need to wait until a kitten or puppy is six months old to spay or neuter. Pediatric spay and neuter can be performed as young as two months and weighing two pounds. Have the surgery done as soon as possible.
TWO MONTHS + TWO POUNDS = SPAY/NEUTER NOW!
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Legislation Protecting Dogs in Severe Weather
On December 15 Pittsburgh City Council approved and Mayor Bill Peduto signed into law ordinances to protect the welfare of dogs kept outdoors during severe winter weather. Councilwoman Darlene Harris sponsored the two pieces of legislation amending “Pittsburgh City Code at Title 6: Conduct, Article III: – Dogs, Cats and Other Animals, Chapter 633″, one “providing for and setting forth requirements for outdoor shelters for dogs; and, penalty for violation”, and another “adding a new section at 633.23, providing for the manner by which a dog may be tethered; and, kept outdoors in severe weather conditions.”
Councilwoman Harris’s statement on her City Council page reads, “This legislation prohibits pet owners from leaving their dogs outdoors in extreme weather conditions for long periods of time, and provides standards for dog houses, and chains used for tethering. These ordinances put forward today’s best practices for the humane treatment of dogs, and will give Animal Care and Control officers another tool to address the abuse and neglect of pets in our city.”
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Dog Licensing in Pennsylvania due by January 1
It’s quick and pretty inexpensive, and it’s the law that all dogs three months and older to be licensed by January 1 of each year.
An annual dog license is $8.50, or $6.50 if the animal is spayed or neutered. Lifetime licenses are available for dogs that have permanent identification like a microchip or tattoo. Older adults and people with disabilities may be eligible for discounts. The dog license application is simple and only requests owner contact information and details about the dog being licensed, like name, age, breed and color.
Violators can be cited with a maximum fine of $300 per violation plus court costs.
Agriculture Secretary George Greig reminds residents, “Buying a dog license is easy and affordable and it gives owners peace of mind knowing that if their dog gets lost, it’s his ticket home.”
Allegheny County residents can find information and applications through County Treasurer John Weinstein on the Allegheny County website. Residents in other counties can find their licensing agency through www.licenseyourdogPA.com or call the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement Office at 717-787-3062.
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