Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Prevent a litter - fix your critter!

Hi my friends!

Last night I was contemplating about how lucky I am. Two and a half years ago I was in a shelter, hoping to be adopted. Since I was there for a month already, I had pretty much overstayed my welcome and was scheduled to be euthanized. Luckily, a rescue organization bailed me out and posted my mugshot on the Internet where a nice lady saw it and adopted me. Boy, that was a close call! Not many pets in shelters are that lucky. There is an overpopulation of pets caused by not spaying and neutering them. They fill up shelters or live as strays and eventually end up being euthanized.

According to the ASPCA, there are an estimated 70 million stray dogs and cats in the United States. Approximately five to seven million per year enter a shelter. Out of those, three to four million will be euthanized. That is a whooping 10.000 dogs and cats per day. Five out of 10 dogs and seven out of 10 cats are being euthanized. Of the dogs and cats that are euthanized, 25% are healthy and purebred pets. Their life is cut short due to lack of space or funds. Only about 10% of pets entering a shelter arrive spayed or neutered. If you do a random search on the Internet on a given day, you can find approximately 45.000 dogs and 35.000 cats that need a home just in California.

Pet overpopulation is a huge problem and it is due to irresponsible pet owners not spaying and neutering their pets. Let me show you a few numbers to explain this better. The average unaltered female cat and dog comes in heat and is able to breed around six months of age. Cats can have four heat cycles per year and dogs can have two heat cycles per year. That means a cat can have four litters and a dog can have two litters per year. If the cat and her offspring remain unaltered and keep reproducing, there will be 420.000 cats in seven years. If the dog and her offspring remain unaltered, there will be 67.000 dogs in six years. The majority of these will be living on the street or end up in a shelter and being euthanized. That is enormous, sad, and mind blowing.

Many states in the U.S. are taking an approach in reducing pet overpopulation. At least 30 states passed legislation to require sterilization of dogs and cats adopted from community shelters. New York City requires dogs and cats sold in stores to be spayed and neutered. Rhode Island goes even a step further by requiring all dogs and cats older than six months to be spayed and neutered. California imposes a higher licensing fee for unsterilized dogs. Most states also offer an affordable spay and neuter program through local shelters. There are also many Animal Birth Control clinics that offer affordable sterilization surgeries.

Besides population control, there are many more benefits to spaying and neutering pets. They become more content and less aggressive after surgery due to the change in hormones. They are less likely to roam, bite, scratch, and fight and are also less likely to mark their territory after being neutered and spayed. There is a reason why people came up with the slogan: "Save a rug - neuter your cat".

Sterilization is a fairly routine surgery. It can be performed on pets as young as eight weeks and is painless since it is done under anesthesia. The neutering of males takes approximately 20 minutes and does not require sutures. The spaying of females takes approximately 60 minutes and requires sutures that will be removed 10 to 14 days after the surgery. In both cases, pets go home the same day of the procedure and display normal behavior. There is a lot of good information about spaying and neutering on the In Defense of Animals website. The link to it is:


As you can see, overpopulation in pets is a big problem and leads often to euthanasia of healthy pets. With a little common sense and by spaying and neutering their pets, owners can make a huge difference. Many states have legislation in favor of sterilization and shelters offer affordable surgeries. If we continue this trend we can reduce overpopulation and safe the lives of many pets. This brings a wonderful slogan to my mind:

"Don't breed and buy while shelter animals die"

Love and Peace,

No comments:

Post a Comment