Low-income residents of Columbus County may qualify for a new, free program to help reduce the number of unwanted dogs and cats.
Sheriff Bill Rogers said Animal Protective Services has partnered with the N.C. Dept. of Agriculture to provide spay and neuter services to for pets to families who receive assistance from the county or state, and are below the poverty level.
“This program will be for low-income families free of charge, that meet the requirements of the state,” Rogers said in a press release on social media. “This program is to assist in lowering numbers of our animals within the county as our pet population continues to rise.”
In 2023, more than 2,100 animals came through the doors at Columbus County Animal Protective Services.
“Our goal is to reduce euthanasia for all animals,” he said. “By becoming part of this state-funded program, we will reduce euthanasia and increase the adoption rate within our county.”
The Dept. of Agriculture receives funding from license plate sales when motorists choose the plate to support animals. This funding will cover approximately half of the cost, with the other half coming from the state and federal governments.
“This funding is already set aside and will not cost the county residents no extra tax money,” Rogers said.
To qualify for this program, county residents must be at least 18 and receive Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, disability, Health Choice, or Work First. A W2 showing income below the Federal Poverty Level is also required to apply.
The application can found on the APS website or Facebook page, or picked up at the Columbus County Animal Shelter, 288 Legion Dr., Whiteville.
“Please take advantage of this program and let’s do our part in lowering the animal population in our county,” Rogers said.