Pet overpopulation crisis

Sometimes there is just too much of a good thing…then there’s a problem.  In the case of dogs and cats, the problem is pet overpopulation.  Each year between ten to twelve million dogs and cats are euthanized simply because there are not enough homes.  Only the most “fortunate” victims make it into good shelters to be counted and killed.

A dog can come into puberty/heat as early as 5 months. The average number of litters an unaltered female dog can produce in one year is two. The number of puppies in an average litter is 6-10. The number of dogs one unaltered female and her offspring can produce in 6 years is 67,000.

A cat can come into puberty/heat as early as 4 months. Female cats do not go out of heat until they are bred. The average number of litters an unaltered female cat can produce in one year is three. The number of kittens in an average litter is 7-10. The number of cats one unaltered female and her offspring can produce in 7 years is 420,000.

While a female dog or cat can only have one litter at a time, male animals can impregnate many females each day.

  • Spaying and neutering are safe, simple surgeries that stop animals from breeding.
  • Females are spayed, males are neutered.
  • It’s just as important to neuter males as it is to spay females.  There is theoretically no limit to the number of offspring male dogs and cats can produce.
  • Spaying and neutering reduces or eliminates the risk of certain types of cancers.
  • Spaying and neutering often eliminates undesirable behaviors such as fighting, spraying, and roaming.
  • Animals DO NOT become less protective of their guardians as a result of being spayed or neutered.
  • Spaying and neutering is as vital to your pet’s overall wellbeing as routine physical examinations, good nutrition, grooming, playtime, and love.

MYTH: My pet will get fat and lazy.

FACT: The truth is that most pets get fat and lazy because their owners feed them too much and don't give them enough exercise

MYTH: It's better to have one litter first.

FACT: Medical evidence indicates just the opposite. In fact, the evidence shows that females spayed before their first heat are typically healthier. Many veterinarians now sterilize dogs and cats as young as eight weeks of age. Check with your veterinarian about the appropriate time for these procedures.

MYTH: My children should experience the miracle of birth.

FACT: Even if children are able to see a pet give birth-which is unlikely, since it usually occurs at night and in seclusion-the lesson they will really learn is that animals can be created and discarded as it suits adults. Instead, it should be explained to children that the real miracle is life and that preventing the birth of some pets can save the lives of others.

MYTH: But my pet is a purebred.

FACT: So is at least one out of every four pets brought to animal shelters around the country. There are just too many dogs and cats-mixed breed and purebred.

MYTH: I want my dog to be protective.

FACT: Spaying or neutering DOES NOT affect a dog's natural instinct to protect home and family. A dog's personality is formed more by genetics and environment than by sex hormones.

MYTH: I don't want my male dog or cat to feel like less of a male.

FACT: Pets don't have any concept of sexual identity or ego. Neutering will not change a pet's basic personality. He doesn't suffer any kind of emotional reaction or identity crisis when neutered.

MYTH: But my dog (or cat) is so special, I want a puppy (or kitten) just like her.

FACT: A dog or cat may be a great pet, but that doesn't mean her offspring will be a carbon copy. Professional animal breeders who follow generations of bloodlines can't guarantee they will get just what they want out of a particular litter. A pet owner's chances are even slimmer. In fact, an entire litter of puppies or kittens might receive all of a pet's (and her mate's) worst characteristics.

MYTH: It's too expensive to have my pet spayed or neutered.

FACT: The cost of spaying or neutering depends on the sex, size, and age of the pet, your veterinarian's fees, and a number of other variables. But whatever the actual price, spay or neuter surgery is a one-time cost-a relatively small cost when compared to all the benefits. It's a bargain compared to the cost of having a litter and ensuring the health of the mother and litter; two months of pregnancy and another two months until the litter is weaned can add up to significant veterinary bills and food costs if complications develop. Most importantly, it's a very small price to pay for the health of your pet and the prevention of the births of more unwanted pets.

MYTH: I'll find good homes for all the puppies and kittens.

FACT: You may find homes for all of your pet's litter. But each home you find means one less home for the dogs and cats in shelters who need good homes. Also, in less than one year's time, each of your pet's offspring may have his or her own litter, adding even more animals to the population. The problem of pet overpopulation is created and perpetuated one litter at a time.

Dogs and cats have a greatly improved chance of long life, good health and contentment if they are spayed or neutered.

The best preventive is to spay dogs and cats while they are young and healthy. Having your pets spayed or neutered prevents the birth of unwanted puppies and kittens.

A spay or neuter surgery carries a one-time cost that is relatively small when one considers its benefits.  It’s a small price to pay for the health of your pet and the prevention of more unwanted animals.

There is a solution to this problem in which everyone can participate…By spaying or neutering companion animals, we can end these unwanted births, and reduce the needless suffering that homeless animals endure.

Reprinted by permission of The Humane Society of the United States.

The unwanted litter that is prevented never knows

the misery of homelessness  

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In poverty or wealth spay/neuter is the first

step in helping animals.

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