Spay and neuter are actions responsible pet owners need to take in order to address the continuously rising animal population. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) recognizes the overwhelming problem presented by pet overpopulation, which cannot be addressed by simply dumping unwanted pets and/or litter in animal shelters.
Animal shelters, particularly their workers have been stigmatized as “kill shelters” run by heartless people who have no intention of looking after the animals they take in. Pet owners bringing in their animals often have a preconceived notion that someone will come along to adopt them. What many do not realize is that there are more unwanted animals being brought in, than people coming in to adopt unwanted or stray animals.
Although the ASPCA makes it clear that currently, no government agency or animal organization has been tasked to tabulate national statistics for use in monitoring animal population and welfare. Nonetheless, the ASPCA base their national estimates on data provided by Shelter Animals Count and other reputable resources, which tend to vary per state.
- Each year, it is estimated that as many as 6.5 million animals are brought in to animal shelters nationwide.
- The annual estimate of shelter animals that were adopted, approximates 3.2 million; 1.6 million cats and 1.6 million dogs.
- Around 710,000 of those animals that entered shelters as stray animals, the majority of which were dogs, were retrieved by their owners.
- Of those remaining in animal shelters, about 2.7 million were euthanized.
As one animal operator puts it, they cannot address on their own, the growing problem posed by animal overpopulation. Pet owners must also do their part by taking remedial actions like spaying and neutering. That way, accidental breeding can be prevented, which can greatly reduce the number of unwanted litters brought to shelters.
Instead of taking the easy way out in caring and raising unwanted puppies and kittens by depositing them at animal shelters, they should first exert efforts in looking for new responsible homes that will adopt them.
Importance of Spaying and Neutering Animal Companions
Spaying a cat or dog entails the removal a female animal’s reproductive organs. Neutering on the other hand, is the corresponding surgical procedure performed on male animals.
May cities and counties in some U.S. states have also taken action by making it mandatory for pet owners to spay or neuter their cat or dog companions. Those who refuse to do so, have to pay a significant amount as breeder’s fee. Communities that impose mandatory spay-and-neuter ordinances have reported a significant decrease in the number of animals brought to shelters where animals are subsequently euthanized.
To further promote spay and neuter actions, many of those communities have spay-and-neuter clinics that offer their services free or for a minimal amount.