Eliminating pet overpopulation and the massive number of homeless pets entering shelters every day IS within our reach. I believe that THREE SIMPLE ACTS will help us accomplish this goal.
FIRST ACT: ALWAYS WEAR A COLLAR & UPDATED TAGS:The First Act is the simplest, and it's a no brainer. Your pet should never be without a collar with updated tags. The operative word being updated. I don't need to elaborate on this one.
SECOND ACT: SPAY AND NEUTER OUR DOGS AND CATS:
I’m continually amazed that despite continued efforts to convince owners to spay and neuter their dogs and cats, so many people still refuse to do it. Even though most shelters in the U.S. offer low cost, free, and even mobile spay/neuter services, many people will not do it. Is it culture, religion, fear, or something else that causes this resistance? I don’t have the answer. All I know is that:
Spaying and neutering your dog or cat will prevent the enormous number of unwanted puppies and kittens that end up in shelters every day. People always think they will find homes for all the puppies in all the litters their unspayed dog has. They don’t. They end up dumping the remaining unadopted (or unsold) puppies at a shelter. Even if a person finds homes for all the puppies or kittens in one litter, what about all the puppies and kittens subsequently born to all their offspring?
According to the Humane Society of the U.S., the average female dog produces 2 litters per year, each litter containing 6 – 10 puppies. If that dog remains unspayed and breeds for six years, that’s 72 – 120 puppies born! If that dog’s offspring also remain unspayed that could produce tens of thousands of puppies over a 6 year period!
Neutering reduces the desire to roam the neighborhood searching for a female in heat. Roaming contributes to dogs getting lost, hit by cars, or attacked by strange dogs they may encounter.
Neutering will reduce or eliminate the desire to urine mark and claim territory. I don’t need to elaborate on the benefits of that!
Neutering reduces unwarranted aggression in males. Without the compelling desire to mark, roam, and mate, there is less need to compete with other males. Dogs will still be protective of their home and family, so don’t worry about your dog turning into a pussy cat!
According to the Humane Society, spaying and neutering can reduce several kinds of canine and feline cancers. A healthier pet means less illness for your beloved pet and fewer vet bills for you!
Sharing these cold hard facts with family, friends, on social media, and in organizations we participate in will eventually get through. There are many myths around spaying and neutering; check out the Humane Society’s web site for a long list of myth-busters.
THIRD ACT: MICRO CHIP OUR DOGS AND CATS:
If I had a buck for every dog and cat that came into the shelter without a microchip or a collar with updated tags I’d be a mega millionaire by now. Recently, someone brought in a black and tan puppy they had found wondering around a shopping center. No collar and tags, no micro chip. The puppy may have slipped out of her collar, it’s easy for a collar to get lost or break off. This woman’s first thought was to take the puppy to the nearest shelter. I could see that the puppy was very young and the tattoo on her belly indicated she had been spayed. We scanned her for a micro chip but there was none. If that beautiful puppy had been micro chipped she would have been home with her family by dinnertime instead of sitting in the shelter waiting to be adopted by someone else. I could recount hundreds of stories just like this one, but you get the point.
Again, beyond ensuring that our own pets are micro chipped, spread the word to others broadly and often. One more dog or cat whose owner can be identified means one less dog or cat in a shelter. Micro chipping costs $20 or less at a shelter and approximately $50 at the vet. It’s tiny and takes 2 seconds to inject underneath the skin. It’s a lot like getting a vaccination.
I firmly believe that if these Three Simple Acts are performed by all dog and cat owners it will drastically reduce pet overpopulation and homelessness. Like they say, it takes a village. Together we can break the vicious cycle of pet overpopulation and overloaded shelters. What am I doing to further this cause? I help shelter animals find loving homes by volunteering. I educate people about the importance of their dog always wearing a collar with updated tags, micro chipping, and spay/neuter. And, I post information and stories like this one on my blog.
Needless to say, the fewer dogs and cats that end up in shelters, the fewer will end up being euthanized.
Tell us how you help in the fight against pet overpopulation and homelessness?
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