Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle cited the ease of the program which provides discounts of up to $40 per procedure. It is available for up to two pets per household.
“There are no coupons or bar codes to print, and there are no limitations on where this service can be performed,” Preckwinkle said. “Just go to the veterinarian of your choice and ask for the Cook County discount.”
Veterinarians will surgically spay or neuter pets under general anesthetic, so the pets will feel no pain. To ensure eligibility for the program, veterinarians will confirm the animal is up to date on rabies shots and the owner is a Cook County resident. Veterinarians handle all paperwork associated with the discount, which will be applied at the point of service.
Last year, more than 3,500 animals were spayed or neutered under this program. Since fees for spaying or neutering vary by veterinarian, so can discounts. For example, the discount can be as high as $40 but also could be as low as $20 if the cost of the surgery is already reduced.
Dr. Donna Alexander, administrator of Cook County’s Department of Animal and Rabies Control, said taxpayers have saved an average of $160,000 a year through the program.
“Cook County’s program allows veterinarians to offer an incentive to pet owners who bring animals in for a safe and beneficial procedure,” Dr. Alexander said. “Cook County residents can save money on a procedure that adds longevity to their pets’ lives, while also preventing infectious diseases and cancers. And it helps Cook County reduce pet overpopulation and the cost of sheltering stray and relinquished animals.”
The County has offered this program with the Chicago Veterinary Medical Association since 2008. Veterinarians are provided posters to display in their offices about the service, along with the annual report from the Animal and Rabies Control Department.
“Spaying and neutering is the proper and responsible thing to do for your pet and for the community,” Preckwinkle said. “Your pet will have a better quality of life and communities around the County will not have to spend their limited tax dollars providing care for animals which are abandoned on the streets.”