ALBANY -- Unnecessary cases of animal euthanasia are expected to decrease now that New York’s veterinarians can offer free spay and neuter procedures in exchange for continuing education credits.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday signed a bill into law that will encourage veterinarians to swap their required training every three years by offering free spay or neuter services instead.

“Robust spay and neuter programs have proven to be among the most effective methods to reduce pet overpopulation, shelter overpopulation and needless euthanasia,” said Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, D-Manhattan, who sponsored the bill, said in a statement.

To satisfy their registration requirement every three years, veterinarians have to complete at least 45 hours of continuing education courses through the state Education Department.

The new law lets the service credit be partial filled through providing free spay and neuter procedures.

Animal-rights groups backed the bill, saying it will lead to fewer animals being euthanized in shelters and better training for veterinarians.

“This legislation allows us to increase low-cost spay and neuter services, while simultaneously enhancing the veterinary profession,” Libby Post, the executive director of the state Animal Protection Federation, said in a statement.