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Greater Sudbury

City and Veterinarians Partner to Deliver New Spay-Neuter Subsidies

Overview

Means Test

Guaranteed Income Supplement

CPP Disability Benefit

ODSP Benefit

Ontario Works

SafePet Program

The City of Greater Sudbury and the Sudbury and District Veterinary Association are offering a new program to help reduce the number of unwanted cats in the community. The new program provides low income residents with unlimited access to reduced rates for the spaying and neutering of domestic cats.

Eligible residents will pay $100 to neuter or $125 to spay a domestic cat at a participating animal hospital. To qualify, residents must pass a needs test administered by Greater Sudbury Compliance and Enforcement Services.

How does the program work?

The new spay-neuter subsidy for cats is available to Greater Sudbury residents who:

  • provide proof that their cat(s) is/are registered with the City of Greater Sudbury (pet registration tag),
  • provide proof that they meet the requirements of the qualifying means test (receipt of income assistance or SafePet program) and
  • provide proof of personal identity.

Individuals who meet these requirements will be issued a veterinary coupon for presentation to participating veterinarians in the City of Greater Sudbury. Veterinarians will collect a fee of $125 to spay a female cat or $100 to neuter a male cat directly from the individual upon presentation of the coupon.

Qualifying residents may obtain subsidies to spay-neuter up to four cats registered in their name, under the current pet limit defined by City of Greater Sudbury By-law 2002-285.

For more information, residents may dial 3-1-1. Residents may also visit City of Greater Sudbury Compliance and Enforcement Services on the main floor of Tom Davies Square, 200 Brady Street, Sudbury, between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday. To process their application, residents are asked to provide proof of cat registration, proof of personal identity and proof for the means test.

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What is the means test?

To qualify for the spay-neuter subsidy, City of Greater Sudbury residents must meet at least one of the following requirements:

  • receipt of the federal Guaranteed Income Supplement,
  • receipt of the Canada Pension Plan Disability Benefit,
  • receipt of the Ontario Disability Support Program,
  • receipt of financial assistance through Ontario Works, and/or
  • receipt of the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association’s SafePet Program.

Who administers the means test?

Designated municipal staff with the City of Greater Sudbury’s Compliance and Enforcement Services will administer the means test and distribute veterinary coupons. Confidentiality of applicants will be safeguarded under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

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What is the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)?

The Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) provides a monthly, non-taxable benefit to Old Age Security (OAS) recipients who have a low income and are living in Canada.

Eligibility of recipients is reviewed every year. Recipients receive an annual letter confirming eligibility status.

Greater Sudbury residents applying for the spay-neuter subsidy must supply a copy of their most recent letter confirming receipt of GIS to designated staff of Greater Sudbury Compliance and Enforcement Services.

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What is the Canada Pension Plan Disability Benefit?

The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Disability Benefit is a taxable monthly payment that is available to people who have contributed to the CPP and who are not able to work regularly at any job because of a disability.

Eligibility of recipients is reviewed every year. Recipients receive an annual letter confirming eligibility status.

Greater Sudbury residents applying for the spay-neuter subsidy must supply a copy of their most recent letter confirming receipt of the CPP Disability Benefit to designated staff of Greater Sudbury Compliance and Enforcement Services.

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What is the Ontario Disability Support Program?

The Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) helps people who are in financial need pay for living expenses, like food and housing. The ODSP is managed and delivered by the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services.

Greater Sudbury residents applying for the spay-neuter subsidy must supply a copy of their most recent ODSP cheque stub, or their Benefit Unit Summary, to designated staff of Greater Sudbury Compliance and Enforcement Services.

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What is Ontario Works?

Ontario Works (OW) helps those in temporary financial need with money and assistance finding a job. OW is managed and delivered by the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services and is administered by the City of Greater Sudbury.

Greater Sudbury residents applying for the spay-neuter subsidy must supply a copy of their most recent OW Drug Card or OW cheque stub to designated staff of Greater Sudbury Compliance and Enforcement Services.

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What is the SafePet Program?

The SafePet Program is a cooperative partnership administered by Ontario’s Violence Against Women Shelters. SafePet is designed to assist women in leaving abusive partners by providing temporary housing and care for their pets. Volunteer veterinarians from Greater Sudbury provide a neutral location where the pet owner can drop off their pet before staying in a shelter and where pet foster parents can pick up the animal for temporary care.

Greater Sudbury residents applying for the spay-neuter subsidy must supply designated staff of Greater Sudbury Compliance and Enforcement Services with a copy of a letter from a Violence Against Women Shelter indicating that their pet is registered with the SafePet program.

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Does the new program provide a subsidy for the spaying or neutering of dogs?

The new spay-neuter program applies only to cats. According to a study initiated by the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies, over 80 per cent of dogs entering municipal pound facilities are reunited with their owners or are adopted into new homes. In cats, redemption and adoption figures are less than 50 per cent. The goal of the new spay-neuter program is to decrease the number of unwanted litters by offering subsidies to cat owners who would otherwise be unable to afford the spay or neuter procedure.

I can’t afford to spay or neuter my dog. Isn’t it unfair to exclude my pet from the subsidy?

City of Greater Sudbury By-law 2002-285 requires pet owners to keep their dogs and cats leashed and under control when venturing off their own property. Female dogs in heat should be closely monitored whenever they are outdoors. On average, dogs have two cycles a year. Cats most often go into heat in the spring and fall for an average of one week. If a non-spayed female cat is not mated, she may go back into heat within several days. The frequency of the feline heat cycle, and the challenges associated with confining a cat, make it far more likely that cat will produce an unwanted litter than a dog.

Does the City of Greater Sudbury still offer spay-neuter discount coupons?

The new spay-neuter program for low income residents replaces a limited number of discount coupons which were previously available through the municipality on a first come, first served basis. Approximately 35 per cent of the coupons were reserved for dogs and 65 per cent for cats. Each coupon had a two month expiry from date of issue. The coupon program did not guarantee assistance to residents with low income and was limited to one cat or dog per owner. The new spay-neuter program provides a subsidy to qualifying cat owners to spay or neuter all of their cats.

Will foster parents of unwanted cats be able to access the subsidy?

Applicants for the new spay-neuter program must be the registered owner of a cat with a valid pet registration tag issued by the City of Greater Sudbury. Organizations and individuals who foster cats are not the registered owners of the animal and are therefore ineligible for the subsidy under this program.

Will the City of Greater Sudbury offer a high volume, low cost spay-neuter clinic?

City of Greater Sudbury staff has been working since 2008 to develop options to open a high volume, low cost, spay-neuter clinic in the community. In April 2013, staff presented an option to Greater Sudbury Council that could have resulted in the opening of a spay-neuter clinic in partnership with the Ontario Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA). In August 2013, staff informed Council that the OSPCA has withdrawn its offer of partnership due to competing OSPCA priorities. The OSPCA also indicated that they may again consider establishing a high volume, low cost spay-neuter clinic in Greater Sudbury at some time in the future.

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