§ 19A-60. Legislative findings.
The General Assembly finds that the uncontrolled breeding of cats and dogs in the State has led to unacceptable numbers of unwanted dogs, puppies and cats and kittens. These unwanted animals become strays and constitute a public nuisance and a public health hazard. The animals themselves suffer privation and death, are impounded, and most are destroyed at great expense to local governments. It is the intention of the General Assembly to provide a voluntary means of funding a spay/neuter program to provide financial assistance to local governments offering low-income persons reduced-cost spay/neuter services for their dogs and cats and to provide a statewide education program on the benefits of spaying and neutering pets. (2000-163, s. 1.)
§ 19A-61. Spay/Neuter Program established.
There is established in the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services a voluntary statewide program 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 shall consist of the following components:
(1) Education Program. - The Department shall establish a statewide program to educate the public about the benefits of having cats and dogs spayed and neutered. The Department may work cooperatively on the program with the North Carolina School of Veterinary Medicine, other State agencies and departments, county and city health departments and animal control agencies, and statewide and local humane organizations. The Department may employ outside consultants to assist with the education program.
(2) Local Spay/Neuter Assistance Program. - The Department shall administer the Spay/Neuter Account established in G.S. 19A-62. Monies deposited in the account shall be available to reimburse eligible counties and cities for the direct costs of spay/neuter surgeries for cats and dogs made available to low-income persons. (2000-163, s. 1; 2010-31, s. 11.4(b).)
§ 19A-62. Spay/Neuter Account established.
(a) Creation. - The Spay/Neuter Account is established as a nonreverting special revenue account in the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The Account consists of the following:
(1) Repealed by Session Laws 2010-31, s. 11.4(c), effective October 1, 2010.
(2) Twenty dollars ($20.00) of the additional fee imposed by G.S. 20-79.7 for an Animal Lovers special license plate.
(3) Any other funds available from appropriations by the General Assembly or from contributions and grants from public or private sources.
(b) Use. - The revenue in the Account shall be used by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services as follows:
(1) Repealed by Session Laws 2010-31, s. 11.4(c), effective October 1, 2010.
(2) Up to twenty percent (20%) may be used to develop and implement the statewide education program component of the Spay/Neuter Program established in G.S. 19A-61(1).
(3) Up to twenty percent (20%) of the money in the Account may be used to defray the costs of administering the Spay/Neuter Program established in this Article.
(4) Funds remaining after deductions for the education program and administrative expenses shall be distributed quarterly to eligible counties and cities seeking reimbursement for reduced-cost spay/neuter surgeries performed during the previous calendar year. A county or city is ineligible to receive funds under this subdivision unless it requires the owner to show proof of rabies vaccination at the time of the procedure or, if none, require vaccination at the time of the procedure.
(c) Report. - In March of each year, the Department must report to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Agriculture and Natural and Economic Resources and the Fiscal Research Division. The report must contain information regarding all revenues and expenditures of the Spay/Neuter Account. (2000-163, s. 1; 2007-487, ss. 2, 3; 2008-187, s. 8; 2010-31, s. 11.4(c); 2011-326, s. 4; 2015-263, s. 25(b); 2020-78, s. 5.1(a).)
§ 19A-63. Eligibility for distributions from Spay/Neuter Account; Definitions.
(a) A county or city is eligible for reimbursement from the Spay/Neuter Account if it meets the following condition:
(1) The county or city offers one or more of the following programs to low-income persons on a year-round basis for the purpose of reducing the cost of spaying and neutering procedures for dogs and cats:
a. A spay/neuter clinic operated by the county or city.
b. A spay/neuter clinic operated by a non-profit organization under contract or other arrangement with the county or city.
c. A contract or contracts with one or more veterinarians, whether or not located within the county, to provide reduced-cost spaying and neutering procedures.
d. Subvention of the spaying and neutering costs incurred by low-income pet owners through the use of vouchers or other procedure that provides a discount of the cost of the spaying or neutering procedure fixed by a participating veterinarian.
e. Subvention of the spaying and neutering costs incurred by persons who adopt a pet from an animal shelter operated by or under contract with the county or city.
(2) Reserved for future codification purposes.
(b) The following definitions apply in this Article:
(1) Local veterinarian. - A veterinarian licensed by the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Board under Article 11 of Chapter 90 of the General Statutes and practicing within the county where the services are provided. If no licensed veterinarian practices within that county, then a local veterinarian is a licensed veterinarian practicing in a county adjacent to the county where the services are provided. For purposes of this definition, "practicing" means engaging in the practice of veterinary medicine, as defined in Article 11 of Chapter 90 of the General Statutes.
(2) Low-income person. - 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.
(c) Each county shall make rules or publish guidelines that designate what proof a low-income person must submit to establish that the person has an annual household income lower than one hundred percent (100%) of the federal poverty level guidelines published by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
(d) Each county shall provide the opportunity to participate in the program created by this Article to all local veterinarians. Proof of the provision of this opportunity shall be included in the first reimbursement request of each calendar year. (2000-163, s. 1; 2010-31, s. 11.4(d); 2015-241, s. 13.7(a); 2016-94, ss. 13.1(a), (b).)
§ 19A-64. Distributions to counties and cities from Spay/Neuter Account.
(a) Reimbursable Costs. - Counties and cities eligible for distributions from the Spay/Neuter Account may receive reimbursement for the direct costs of a spay/neuter surgical procedure for a dog or cat owned by a low-income person as defined in G.S. 19A-63(b). Reimbursable costs shall include anesthesia, medication, and veterinary services. Counties and cities shall not be reimbursed for the administrative costs of providing reduced-cost spay/neuter services or capital expenditures for facilities and equipment associated with the provision of such services. The reimbursement amount for each surgical procedure for a female dog or cat shall be no more than one hundred fifty percent (150%) of the average reimbursement allowed for surgical procedures for female dogs and cats by the Spay/Neuter Program during the prior calendar year. The reimbursement amount for each surgical procedure for a male dog or cat shall be no more than one hundred fifty percent (150%) of the average reimbursement allowed for surgical procedures for male dogs and cats by the Spay/Neuter Program during the prior calendar year.
(b) Application. - A county or city eligible for reimbursement of spaying and neutering costs from the Spay/Neuter Account shall apply to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services by the last day of January, April, July, and October of each year to receive a distribution from the Account for that quarter. The application shall be submitted in the form required by the Department and shall include an itemized listing of the costs for which reimbursement is sought.
(c) Distribution. - The Department shall make payments from the Spay/Neuter Account to eligible counties and cities who have made timely application for reimbursement within 30 days of the closing date for receipt of applications for that quarter. In the event that total requests for reimbursement exceed the amounts available in the Spay/neuter Account for distribution, the monies available will be distributed as follows:
(1) Fifty percent (50%) of the monies available 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.
(2) Among the eligible counties and cities in development tier one areas, reimbursement shall be made to each eligible county or city in the proportion that the rate of spays and neuters per one thousand persons in that city or county compares to the total rate of spays and neuters per one thousand persons within the total tier one area. Population data shall be obtained from the most recent decennial census.
(3) Among the eligible counties and cities in development tier two and three areas, reimbursement shall be made to each eligible county or city in the proportion that the rate of spays and neuters per one thousand persons in that city or county compares to the total rate of spays and neuters per one thousand persons within the total tier two and three area. Population data shall be obtained from the most recent decennial census.
(4) Should funds remain available from the fifty percent (50%) of the Spay/Neuter Account designated for development tier one areas after reimbursement of all claims by eligible applicants in those areas, the remaining funds shall be made available to reimburse eligible applicants in development tier two and three areas. (2000-163, s. 1; 2006-252, s. 2.11; 2010-31, s. 11.4(e); 2013-377, s. 4.)
§ 19A-65. Annual Report Required From Every Animal Shelter in Receipt of State or Local Funding.
Every county or city animal shelter, or animal shelter operated under contract with a county or city or otherwise in receipt of State or local funding shall prepare an annual report in the form required by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services setting forth the numbers, by species, of animals received into the shelter, the number adopted out, the number returned to owner, and the number destroyed. The report shall also contain the total operating expenses of the shelter and the cost per animal handled. The report shall be filed with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services by March 1 of each year. A city or county that does not timely file the report required by this section is not eligible to receive reimbursement payments under G.S. 19A-64 during the calendar year in which the report was to be filed. (2000-163, s. 5; 2010-31, s. 11.4(f).)
§ 19A-66. Notification of available funding.
Prior to January 1 of each year, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall notify counties and cities that have, prior to that notification deadline, established eligibility for distribution of funds from the Spay/Neuter Account pursuant to G.S. 19A-63, of the following:
(1) The amount of funding in the Spay/Neuter Account that the Department will have available for distribution to each county or city receiving notification to pay reimbursement requests submitted by the county or city during the calendar year following the notification deadline; and
(2) The amount of additional funding, if any, the Department estimates, but does not guarantee, may be available to pay reimbursement requests submitted by the notified county or city to the Department during the calendar year following the notification deadline.
(3) The maximum amount that may be reimbursed for each surgical procedure for a female dog or cat during the upcoming calendar year.
(4) The maximum amount that may be reimbursed for each surgical procedure for a male dog or cat during the upcoming calendar year. (2010-31, s. 11.4(g); 2013-377, s. 5.)