Brownwood council OKs low cost spay, neuter vouchers for pet owners

Steve Nash
Brownwood Bulletin
Dog and cat owners will be able to take advantage of low cost spay and neuter vouchers through the Corinne T. Smith Animal Center.

Brownwood City Council members agreed Tuesday to subsidize a low cost spay and neuter program for Brownwood pet owners through the Corinne T. Smith Animal Center.

The council agreed to transfer $50,000, which is in the current city budget, to the animal center.

The animal center hopes to have the vouchers available beginning next month, the center's director, Braston Gray, said.

A dog or cat owner can buy a voucher from the animal center and present the voucher to a veterinarian, and the city will pay charges that exceed the amount of the voucher, council members were told.

To buy a voucher, pet owners will pay:

• $45 for a cat

• $55 for a dog up to 60 pounds

• $75 for a dog between 61 and 120 pounds

The costs will include rabies shots and microchips, Gray, told council members.

The average cost charged by veterinarians, council members were told, is:

• $87 for cat,

• $133 for dog up to 60 pounds

• $204 for dog between 61 and 120 pounds

The cost for microchipping is $25 or $30, council members were told.

Mayor Stephen Haynes asked if the subsidy city will be paying is low enough to incentivize pet owners to have their dogs and cats spayed or neutered.

"Is $45 low enough?" Haynes asked, referring to the cost of a voucher for a cat owner. "The lower we make it, the less we can help. Does that $45 and $55 and $75 qualifies as low cost, will that be enough of a subsidy to truly incentivize folks?”

 “I do believe so," Gray replied. "We currently do have a voucher program in place that is a little bit more general and is generally for residents of the county, not strictly for city residents.”

The cost for spay a female cat under that voucher program is $75, Gray said.

“We wanted to come up with something that was a little bit more low cost for the citizens of the city of Brownwood," Gray said.

A low income voucher administered through the Texas Department of State Health Services also is available, council members were told.

The Brownwood City Council has been in discussion with the animal center and residents for a few years about the overpopulation of dogs and cats in the city, and have discussed the need to increase the number of pets that are spayed or neutered.