During the Spring, and other times of the year as well, nature is remarkably abundant. Unfortunately, nature is overly abundant when it comes to the domestic pet population.
For decades now, shelters and pounds all over the nation have been literally overflowing with homeless animals. The numbers given vary somewhere between 6 to 8 million cats and dogs which enter shelters every year, and 3 to 4 million are put to death because they have no place to go. These are the “fortunate” ones. That 6 to 8 million figure does not include the uncounted millions who meet a far worse, lingering, death by starvation, disease, or roadside accident.
A recent survey revealed that more than 80 percent of the animals taken to shelters must be euthanized. The average cost of handling each animal is about $35. Millions of dollars are spent annually just to dispose of the bodies of euthanized animals.
It’s a tragic reality in our throw-away society that the lives of innocent creatures are held in such small regard, and many people fail to understand the urgency or extent of the problem – as well as the absolute necessity of spaying and neutering pets.
In addition to alleviating untold suffering to animals in general, having one’s cat or dog altered has many benefits for the individual pet and for the pet’s owner as well:
- Neutering decreases and often eliminates diseases to which intact male dogs are prone later in life – including diseases of the prostate, testicles and other tissues influenced by male hormones. Testicular and perianal gland cancers are the second and third most frequently diagnosed tumors in older intact male dogs. Neutered male cats are much less prone to spraying.
- Spaying female cats and dogs entirely eliminates diseases of the ovaries and uterus, and, if performed before their first or second heat, drastically decreases the chance of mammary gland cancer. Mammary cancer is very common in older intact females, and is the most common cancer to spread to the lungs.
- Neutering greatly reduces the risk of injuries and illnesses to males. Unaltered males tend to roam, increasing their chances of being killed or injured. They also tend to fight more, which guarantees wounds and infections.
- The monetary cost of altering a cat or dog is much less in the long run than maintaining the health of an older, unfixed pet.
- Contrary to what some people think, it is a myth that an altered animal becomes fat and lazy after surgery. The only change in behavior is positive; generally, a pet will tend to be less aggressive and more loving.
- In addition, there is great benefit to the community. Fewer strays running loose means less spreading of diseases to pets and to people, less danger of rabies outbreaks, and less annoyance over ripped up garbage bags, torn up gardens, noises at night, etc. There is also less cost in tax dollars to build, run, and maintain animal pounds.
This is everyone’s problem and everyone’s responsibility. The issue will not be resolved by trying to ignore it, or pretending it doesn’t exist. For every cat and dog that finds a good home, there are dozens which do not, and the cost in needless suffering to helpless animals is cruel and unconscionable. Have your pets neutered or spayed, and encourage others to do the same. Don’t put it off.
Related Link: Animal Spay and Neuter Assistance List