About the Massachusetts Animal Fund
The Massachusetts Animal Fund was created by the legislature in 2012.
Animal homelessness is a problem that causes animals’ lives to be lost to euthanasia, poses a public safety concern, and costs taxpayer money to pay for services for stray, abandoned, and feral animals and their offspring. Sterilization of animals decreases not only the number of homeless and feral animals born each year, but it can also decrease unwanted behavior in owned animals, including roaming and aggression.
The Fund works towards preventing animal homelessness by:
- Offsetting costs of vaccination, spaying, and neutering of homeless cats and dogs;
- Offsetting costs of vaccination, spaying, and neutering of dogs and cats owned by low-income residents;
- Assisting with the training of animal control officers consistent with section 151C of Chapter 140.
This Fund benefits YOUR community — 86% of the Commonwealth’s municipalities participated in the program by requesting vouchers through their local animal control officer (ACO) for residents who have no other opportunity to provide their animal with sterilization or vaccination services.
As much as the Fund benefits animals, it benefits residents too, by reducing the number of homeless animals and associated costs for communities that would pick up, care for, and house them. It is estimated that for every $1 spent on spay/neuter, a community saves $3.
The authorizing language for the Massachusetts Animal Fund also established training opportunities and support to Massachusetts animal control officers (ACOs) so they can better serve their communities and provide uniform enforcement of animal control laws. The Core Competencies Training Program began in the March of 2016 and since 585 commonwealth ACOs have been brought up to date on animal laws in Massachusetts, emergency preparedness, animal behavior and safe handling, communication and officer safety, and report writing and record keeping. Over 100 new municipal ACOs are waiting to take the Core Competencies Training in 2021.
The Fund is primarily funded by the voluntary tax check off (Line 33f) on the Massachusetts resident income tax form. However, the current income from Line 33f is not enough to provide the needed services to pets and homeless animals. The MSPCA works hard to get funding for the Fund included in the Massachusetts State Budget each year, by advocating for amendments to the House and Senate budgets. Governor Charlie Baker signed the 2023 Massachusetts State Budget which includes $100,000 for the Massachusetts Animal Fund.
To date, the Fund has disseminated funds across the Commonwealth for spay/neuter surgeries and vaccinations; this includes cats/dogs in municipal care, cats/dogs owned by low-income residents, and feral cats. In addition, the Fund has helped with emergency assistance to help municipalities deal with situations such as animal hoarding, large scale abuse and neglect cases, and disease outbreak — helping an additional 1,910 cats and dogs in dire situations.
Learn more about the Fund on the state’s website.