Letter to the editor: Spaying/neutering your pets is the responsible actionFebruary is Spay/Neuter Awareness Month with World Spay Day designated as Feb. 26. This national campaign is sponsored by the Humane Society of the U.S., to recognize the critical need to spay and neuter pets.
By: Elizabeth Sherfy, Jamestown, The Jamestown Sun
February is Spay/Neuter Awareness Month with World Spay Day designated as Feb. 26. This national campaign is sponsored by the Humane Society of the U.S., to recognize the critical need to spay and neuter pets. According to the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Alliance, an estimated 35 percent of dogs and cats in U.S. households are not spayed or neutered.
So looking at the big picture, with more than 171 million pets in U.S. households, that means there are about 60 million dogs and cats out there that can continue to breed and produce millions more puppies and kittens without a place to call home. This number doesn’t even include the stray dogs and cats or their homeless litters!
Spaying (female dogs and cats) and neutering (male dogs and cats) are surgical procedures that ensure the animal cannot reproduce. In a city and a country where too many animals wait for too few homes, spaying and neutering are part of responsible pet ownership. Spaying and neutering have many benefits for the altered animals in addition to reducing the numbers of unwanted pets. Altered pets generally live longer, have fewer health problems related to reproduction, are easier to train and live with and have less desire to roam (and be hit by cars or lost).
Altered male dogs and cats are less likely to engage in frustrating urine marking behaviors, and tend to be less aggressive; the vast majority of serious dog bites are inflicted by unaltered male dogs. Altered females do not go into season (“heat”), saving lots of frustration for their owners.
Unaltered pets also have a higher incidence of preventable reproductive cancers, and the chances of these cancers occurring increases as the pet ages. In addition to the above benefits, having an altered pet means peace of mind for the responsible owner, who knows his or her pet will never contribute to the pet overpopulation crisis.
The James River Humane Society is committed to reducing the number of unwanted animals born in this city each year and to improving the quality of pets’ lives. Discounted spays and neuters are provided by several Jamestown veterinarians in support of this Spay/Neuter Awareness campaign. A female cat can have its first litter at 6 months of age and she can have 3 litters a year with an average of four kittens per litter — that’s 12 new cats soon to be reproducing! Dogs can reproduce just as quickly; in fact, one dog can have 12 puppies in one litter!
Please help reduce the overpopulation of homeless pets by scheduling a spay/neuter for your pet today and encourage your friends to do the same — shelter is busy enough.