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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498

Date: January 15, 2015


STANTON (January 15, 2015) - Animal-friendly Delaware drivers have a new option to show their affection for dogs and cats: a redesigned animal welfare license plate.

Delaware Health and Social Services Secretary (DHSS) Rita Landgraf, joined by Wilmington Illustrator Andy Lendway, unveiled the new license plate today at the Delaware Society for the Prevention and Cruelty of Animals' (SPCA) Stanton shelter. Lendway, 55, of Wilmington, created the winning design that features a dog and cat touching noses, on a yellow background with paw prints.

Lendway's artwork won the First State Paw Draw Contest hosted by the Delaware Division of Public Health's Office of Animal Welfare (OAW). OAW Executive Director Hetti Brown said the Animal Welfare License Plate Contest Committee considered several strong contenders.

"We are thrilled to offer this new design to the public," Brown said. "This license plate allows drivers to show their love for animals while supporting services to reduce the overpopulation and homelessness of Delaware cats and dogs."

The plate sells for $50 at the Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles, and $35 of each sale is allocated to the Animal Welfare License Plate Fund. Revenue is used to provide spay and neuter surgeries for community cat colonies or specific breeds, to offer low-cost or free spay and neuter services for those who do not qualify for the State Spay & Neuter Program, and to supplement spay and neuter funds for Delaware shelters or for other special programs.

In fact, the animal welfare license plate's unveiling occurred on OAW's first State Spay Day, which offered more than 75 free spay and neuter surgeries for Delaware cats and dogs at seven statewide locations. While several low-cost spay and neuter services are available in Delaware, the procedures can be cost-prohibitive for some citizens.

"Spay and neuter stops unwanted litters before they start and also safeguards the health of cats and dogs," Brown said. Spaying female cats and dogs reduces their chances of developing pyrometra (a fatal uterine infection), uterine cancer, and other reproductive system cancers, according to The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Male neutered pets have less risk of getting testicular cancer and possibly prostate cancer. In addition, dogs and cats that are spayed and neutered are less likely to mark their territories with urine, bite, roam, bark and howl, and have less aggression.

The Delaware General Assembly created the Animal Welfare License Plate and its associated fund in 1995 through legislation sponsored by Sen. David McBride. The State Spay & Neuter Program, created through legislation in 2006, allows income-eligible applicants to have their cat or dog spayed or neutered for a $20 co-pay per pet and reimburses veterinarians for their services. The Animal Welfare License Plate Fund supplements that program and is used for pet populations not served through the State Spay & Neuter Program.

To purchase an Animal Welfare License Plate online, visit and click on Online Services, then Special Plate Sales.

For further information about the animal welfare license plate or OAW services, including the State Spay & Neuter Program, visit or call 302-255-4620.

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind, or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person's spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, drink almost no sugary beverages.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.