Spay/Neuter legislation in many states expected to lower euthanization rates

According to In Defense Of Animals, “at least 30 states have passed legislation requiring sterilization of cats and dogs adopted from community shelters. Many state laws charge guardians who choose not to sterilize their animal companions a substantial financial penalty. Laws are stronger in some areas of the country than in others. In New York City, for example, even dogs and cats sold in pet stores must be spayed or neutered. Rhode Island requires guardians to spay or neuter all cats over six months of age, no matter how they are acquired, or pay a licensing fee. Advocates expect this to reduce the number of animals euthanized in the state by about 65%.” 

From In Defense of Animals:

Spaying and Neutering

A Humane Solution to Animal Companion Overpopulation

Every year in the United States, an estimated three to four million cats and dogs are killed in animal shelters.(1) The simple fact is that there are far more cats and dogs in the world than there are people who are willing or able to be guardians. Most were recklessly or accidentally bred, resulting in a serious animal companion overpopulation crisis that causes immense suffering for its victims and heartbreak for those who work to save their lives.

No matter how homeless animals end up shelters—whether they are purchased from a breeder or puppy mill and later relinquished, ferals or strays picked up from the street, or lost family pets—their fate is too often to die, even though most are perfectly healthy and adoptable. The best that those who cannot find homes can hope for is to be painlessly euthanized by lethal injection in the arms of a caring person. Unfortunately, dogs and cats in some shelters suffer a cruel death by carbon monoxide asphyxiation with other animals in a gas chamber. Some shelters even engage in “pound seizure,” meaning they sell or give homeless animals to research laboratories for experimentation.(2) No matter how unwanted animal companions leave this world, their deaths are always sad, as they result in the needless loss of precious lives.”

While the population explosion is the result of not one but many causes, the fact that these millions of deaths could be prevented makes them all the more tragic and intolerable. Encouraging people to adopt animals from shelters instead of buying them is important. However, it is even more imperative that our society implement measures to reduce the number of puppies and kittens being born at the source. This can best be accomplished by spaying and neutering as many animals as possible.

The Solution to Overpopulation: Spaying and Neutering

Spaying/neutering means sterilizing dogs and cats so that they can’t reproduce. Female animals are spayed by performing a surgical procedure to remove their uterine organs so they cannot be impregnated, while neutering involves castrating male animals so they are unable to inseminate females. Both operations are done using anesthesia typically on dogs and cats older than eight weeks of age.

Permanent sterilization has proven to be the most effective method of preventing animals from being born into a world that cannot provide for their needs. Slowing birth rates also reduces the strain on overburdened shelters, allowing them to keep animals longer instead of euthanizing them for lack of space. Fortunately, concerted efforts by shelters, legislators and animal advocates have made spaying and neutering much more widespread, available and affordable. Some of the key solutions used to stem overpopulation include:

Spay/neuter laws – At least 30 states have passed legislation requiring sterilization of cats and dogs adopted from community shelters. Many state laws charge guardians who choose not to sterilize their animal companions a substantial financial penalty. Laws are stronger in some areas of the country than in others. In New York City, for example, even dogs and cats sold in pet stores must be spayed or neutered. Rhode Island requires guardians to spay or neuter all cats over six months of age, no matter how they are acquired, or pay a licensing fee. Advocates expect this to reduce the number of animals euthanized in the state by about 65%.(3)

Affordable sterilization programs – Many community shelters provide reduced rate spaying/neutering services as an incentive for low income guardians who otherwise might not be able to afford the operation. This may be done at the shelter or in a mobile spay/neuter unit that travels to different locations, making transportation easier and more convenient for guardians. Some humane organizations also organize spay/neuter programs of their own. The Doris Day Animal Foundation, for instance, holds an annual Spay Day USA every February with the goal of sterilizing 155,000 cats and dogs across the country.(4)

Education and outreach programs – Humane organizations and animal protection groups like IDA raise public awareness of overpopulation through education and outreach campaigns that promote spaying and neutering and encourage people to adopt animals instead of buying them. This effort is crucial because even though there are millions of animals who need loving guardians, less than one in five dogs living in American homes are adopted from shelters.(5) Whether based on media exposure or direct person-to-person contact, education and outreach programs complement spaying and neutering efforts by getting the community involved in creating solutions and generating public support for overpopulation reduction measures.

Over time, these targeted efforts have succeeded in dramatically decreasing the number of animals euthanized in the U.S. Only 30 years ago, about 17 million cats and dogs were killed in the course of a single year—more than four times the amount of homeless animals euthanized by shelters today.(6)

Benefits of Spaying/Neutering

Sterilizing dogs and cats not only reduces animal companion overpopulation, homelessness and euthanasia, but also benefits individual cats and dogs, their guardians and society at large:

Benefits for animals – Spaying and neutering helps animals live longer, healthier lives by eliminating or reducing many health problems. For example, spayed female cats and dogs cannot get uterine or ovarian cancer, and are at greatly reduced risk for breast cancer. Neutered males cannot get testicular cancer and have better odds of avoiding prostate disease. Sterilized animal companions are far less likely to roam in search of mates, running away or getting into fights as a result. This helps protect animals from contracting fatal diseases such as feline leukemia or FIV (feline AIDS) that are spread through the exchange of bodily fluids.(7)

Benefits for guardians – Sterilizing animals makes them more affectionate companions and eliminates or reduces many behavior and temperament problems. For instance, neutered cats are far less likely to spray and mark territory by urinating indoors, and neutering dogs reduces socially inappropriate mounting. Spaying female dogs and cats eliminates the heat cycle which can invoke constant howling, nervousness and the unwelcome attention of male animals. Animals who are spayed or neutered are also less likely to bite their guardians and other people.(8)

Benefits for society – Every year, communities spend tens of millions in tax dollars on catching, sheltering, euthanizing and disposing of homeless cats and dogs. The average cost per animal can be much as $300.(9) Sterilizing animals to prevent accidental or irresponsible breeding is a cost-effective way to reduce these expenses while enabling shelters to make better use of their limited resources.

Spaying and Neutering
A Humane Solution to Animal Companion Overpopulation

Every year in the United States, an estimated three to four million cats and dogs are killed in animal shelters.(1) The simple fact is that there are far more cats and dogs in the world than there are people who are willing or able to be guardians. Most were recklessly or accidentally bred, resulting in a serious animal companion overpopulation crisis that causes immense suffering for its victims and heartbreak for those who work to save their lives.

No matter how homeless animals end up shelters—whether they are purchased from a breeder or puppy mill and later relinquished, ferals or strays picked up from the street, or lost family pets—their fate is too often to die, even though most are perfectly healthy and adoptable. The best that those who cannot find homes can hope for is to be painlessly euthanized by lethal injection in the arms of a caring person. Unfortunately, dogs and cats in some shelters suffer a cruel death by carbon monoxide asphyxiation with other animals in a gas chamber. Some shelters even engage in “pound seizure,” meaning they sell or give homeless animals to research laboratories for experimentation.(2) No matter how unwanted animal companions leave this world, their deaths are always sad, as they result in the needless loss of precious lives.

While the population explosion is the result of not one but many causes, the fact that these millions of deaths could be prevented makes them all the more tragic and intolerable. Encouraging people to adopt animals from shelters instead of buying them is important. However, it is even more imperative that our society implement measures to reduce the number of puppies and kittens being born at the source. This can best be accomplished by spaying and neutering as many animals as possible.


The Solution to Overpopulation: Spaying and Neutering

Spaying/neutering means sterilizing dogs and cats so that they can’t reproduce. Female animals are spayed by performing a surgical procedure to remove their uterine organs so they cannot be impregnated, while neutering involves castrating male animals so they are unable to inseminate females. Both operations are done using anesthesia typically on dogs and cats older than eight weeks of age.

Permanent sterilization has proven to be the most effective method of preventing animals from being born into a world that cannot provide for their needs. Slowing birth rates also reduces the strain on overburdened shelters, allowing them to keep animals longer instead of euthanizing them for lack of space. Fortunately, concerted efforts by shelters, legislators and animal advocates have made spaying and neutering much more widespread, available and affordable. Some of the key solutions used to stem overpopulation include:

Spay/neuter laws – At least 30 states have passed legislation requiring sterilization of cats and dogs adopted from community shelters. Many state laws charge guardians who choose not to sterilize their animal companions a substantial financial penalty. Laws are stronger in some areas of the country than in others. In New York City, for example, even dogs and cats sold in pet stores must be spayed or neutered. Rhode Island requires guardians to spay or neuter all cats over six months of age, no matter how they are acquired, or pay a licensing fee. Advocates expect this to reduce the number of animals euthanized in the state by about 65%.(3)

Affordable sterilization programs – Many community shelters provide reduced rate spaying/neutering services as an incentive for low income guardians who otherwise might not be able to afford the operation. This may be done at the shelter or in a mobile spay/neuter unit that travels to different locations, making transportation easier and more convenient for guardians. Some humane organizations also organize spay/neuter programs of their own. The Doris Day Animal Foundation, for instance, holds an annual Spay Day USA every February with the goal of sterilizing 155,000 cats and dogs across the country.(4)

Education and outreach programs – Humane organizations and animal protection groups like IDA raise public awareness of overpopulation through education and outreach campaigns that promote spaying and neutering and encourage people to adopt animals instead of buying them. This effort is crucial because even though there are millions of animals who need loving guardians, less than one in five dogs living in American homes are adopted from shelters.(5) Whether based on media exposure or direct person-to-person contact, education and outreach programs complement spaying and neutering efforts by getting the community involved in creating solutions and generating public support for overpopulation reduction measures.

Over time, these targeted efforts have succeeded in dramatically decreasing the number of animals euthanized in the U.S. Only 30 years ago, about 17 million cats and dogs were killed in the course of a single year—more than four times the amount of homeless animals euthanized by shelters today.(6)

Benefits of Spaying/Neutering

Sterilizing dogs and cats not only reduces animal companion overpopulation, homelessness and euthanasia, but also benefits individual cats and dogs, their guardians and society at large:

Benefits for animals – Spaying and neutering helps animals live longer, healthier lives by eliminating or reducing many health problems. For example, spayed female cats and dogs cannot get uterine or ovarian cancer, and are at greatly reduced risk for breast cancer. Neutered males cannot get testicular cancer and have better odds of avoiding prostate disease. Sterilized animal companions are far less likely to roam in search of mates, running away or getting into fights as a result. This helps protect animals from contracting fatal diseases such as feline leukemia or FIV (feline AIDS) that are spread through the exchange of bodily fluids.(7)

Benefits for guardians – Sterilizing animals makes them more affectionate companions and eliminates or reduces many behavior and temperament problems. For instance, neutered cats are far less likely to spray and mark territory by urinating indoors, and neutering dogs reduces socially inappropriate mounting. Spaying female dogs and cats eliminates the heat cycle which can invoke constant howling, nervousness and the unwelcome attention of male animals. Animals who are spayed or neutered are also less likely to bite their guardians and other people.(8)

Benefits for society – Every year, communities spend tens of millions in tax dollars on catching, sheltering, euthanizing and disposing of homeless cats and dogs. The average cost per animal can be much as $300.(9) Sterilizing animals to prevent accidental or irresponsible breeding is a cost-effective way to reduce these expenses while enabling shelters to make better use of their limited resources.

Advertisements

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: