Spay or Neuter Your Pet
Spaying or neutering your pet prevents the suffering and tragic death of thousands of animals.
Half of the pets taken to American animal shelters get euthanized, or killed. In fact, three to four million dogs and cats are euthanized each year in the U.S.--that's roughly 10,000 per day--simply because there aren't enough homes to adopt them.
Spaying (the procedure for female animals) and neutering (the procedure for male animals) are two of the most common surgical procedures performed on cats and dogs. Spaying or neutering your pet is simple, avoids the cost and hassle of dealing with litters, decreases aggressiveness (e.g. biting), and can increase your pet's lifespan, by:
Many healthy kittens and puppies are euthanized before reaching six months old. Yet some pet owners continue to allow their animals to breed. In fact, 34 percent of owned dogs and 15 percent of owned cats are still not spayed or neutered.
The consequences of strays can be staggering: One unspayed cat and her offspring can produce 420,000 kittens in seven years and one unspayed dog and her offspring can produce 67,000 puppies in six years. There simply are not enough homes to adopt them all.
The most heart-wrenching result of our failure to spay and neuter is the fate of all the resulting unwanted animals. Only one in 10 animals born in the United States gets a good home that lasts a lifetime. Of the remaining unwanted pets, those that get euthanized in a shelter are often the lucky ones; others get abandoned or otherwise killed or disposed of. Stray cats and dogs on the streets usually live miserable and short lives, ending only when they die from cold, starvation, disease, or worse.
But it's not just the animals who suffer due to our failure to spay and neuter. Capturing, impounding and eventual euthanasia costs taxpayers and private agencies some $2 billion each year in the United States alone.
In addition to the tax burden of pet overpopulation, a host of societal problems also result. As a potential source of rabies and other diseases, some abandoned pets become public health hazards. Stray animals scare children, bite passersby, cause accidents, and soil streets and parks.
Our society seems to have adopted a distressing view of animals as disposable "goods" that can be dealt with only via the inherently disrespectful solution of euthanization. The failure to spay and neuter is costing us all.
The good news is that communities with active spay/neuter programs and legislation are seeing very encouraging results, including dramatic declines in the number of animals that are euthanized each year. Not only that, but spaying and neutering pets lets them live longer, healthier lives, and also often makes them more affectionate and easier to care for.
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