Pet Overpopulation is Everyone’s Problem

28 09 2010

While it’s true that there are more than 100 million dogs and cats who are loved and cared for by responsible pet owners, the sad fact remains that an estimated six to eight million animals are euthanized each year – rarely for no reason other than there there is simply “no room at the inn.” Many, if not most, of these animals were healthy and fully adoptable and approximately 25% were purebred.

Some animal rescue experts claim that the number of animals being put down needlessly each year have decreased, but there are still thousands of dogs and cats in animal shelters and humane societies in danger of being the next statistic because there aren’t enough good homes for them to go to. With these groups literally overflowing with animals, they are forced to turn away new animals, particularly in “puppy and kitten season.”

These sad statistics can be decreased dramatically in one small step: spaying and neutering your pets. Female cats can begin breeding at the age of four months and if she is not spayed, she and her offspring can produce 420,000 cats in seven years. Where do those cats end up? Most of them end up as feral cats, living on the street breeding over and over. Statistics for female dogs aren’t much better: one female and her offspring can produce 67,000 dogs in six years. Still don’t think it’s a problem? Take out your calculator and do the math…how many offspring will each of those new offspring create? Are you getting the picture?

Here are some important facts about spaying and neutering:

1. The term “spay” refers to removing a female animal’s ovaries and uterus so that she cannot reproduce.

2. The term neuter refers to removing a male animal’s testicles so that he cannot reproduce (although the term neuter technically means the sterilization of either a male or a female animal, today it is typically used to refer to the procedure for a male animal).

3. Dogs and cats can be spayed or neutered as early as 2 months of age.

4. Spay/neuter surgeries will lead to a decrease in the euthanasia rate and increase the live release rate (the number of animals that leave the shelter alive) of animals. Research shows that each canine sterilization reduces shelter intake by .72 dogs; and each feline sterilization reduces shelter intake by .57 cats.

5. High Quality High Volume Spay/neuter (HQHVSN) programs are efficient surgical initiatives that meet or exceed current veterinary medical standards of care in providing accessible, targeted sterilization of large numbers of dogs and cats in order to reduce their overpopulation and subsequent euthanasia.

6. There are many health benefits to spaying and neutering your dogs, cats…and rabbits! Spaying a female cat or dog helps prevent uterine infections and breast cancer. Neutering your male dog or cat prevents testicular cancer, if done before six months of age.

7. Spaying or neutering will NOT make your pet fat. Lack of exercise and overfeeding will cause your pet to pack on the extra pounds—not neutering.

Pet overpopulation is the responsibility of ALL pet owners – not just a chosen few. You may think, oh my dog or cat can have one litter and it will be ok. But remember this, the pet overpopulation is perpetuated one litter at a time. For every new puppy or kitten born from unaltered female, means more animals in shelters die. There are plenty of excellent, reasonably-priced spay and neuter programs in your area. For more information, facts and myths on spaying and neutering your pet, as well as state-by-state programs, please visit our website.

Please, be a responsible pet owner – spay or neuter your pet!

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