The state Department of Health has contracts with veterinarian hospitals across the state to provide residents with a low-cost option to spaying or neutering their dog or cat.

Public health veterinarian Darby McDermott said since the program began in 1984, more than 220,000 dogs and cats have been spayed and neutered. In 2020, more than 2,200 cats and dogs were spayed and neutered.

McDermott said this program helps lower the number of stray cats and dogs in New Jersey. This also helps reduce the number of animals in pounds and shelters.

Reducing stray animals can also reduce the spread of diseases, some of which can affect humans, like rabies.

McDermott said the program helps municipalities that operate shelters and pounds by reducing their animal intake.

To qualify, an animal owner must be a New Jersey resident and have adopted a dog or cat from an eligible state shelter or animal adoption agency.

A resident can also be eligible for the discounted program if he or she is receiving benefits from a specific public assistance program.

The cost is $20 if the resident adopted their pet from an eligible licensed, pound or non-profit adoption agency. Cost is $10 if a resident is receiving food stamps, Medicaid, general public assistance, rental assistance, aid to families with dependent children, lifeline utility credit, tenants lifeline assistance, supplemental security income or pharmaceutical assistance to the aged and disabled.

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