Dawn Armstrong
Special to the Tribune

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January 29, 2013
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Pet column: Annual spay-neuter campaign opportunity

Take advantage of the Lake Tahoe Humane Society's 26h Annual Prevent-a-Litter month as well as World Spay Day USA campaign month by saving on spay-neuter of cats, kittens, dogs and puppies in February.

Spay-neuter has become a mantra. Both to alleviate suffering and to relieve the taxpayer of related costs of surplus animals, the trend is for states to require sterilization of pets put up for adoption by both public and private shelters. However, surveys show that most pets still are acquired outside of the shelter system by people who do not sterilize their pets, which creates a cruel cycle of unplanned breeding, surplus pets, and shelter orphans. Ironically, there is virtually no opposition to the solutions for saving lives except from those uneducated about the killing, who claim there is no pet overpopulation problem, or sadly, who know but "just don't get around to it."

Twenty years ago it was estimated that 17 million adoptable pets were killed for lack of shelter holding space, caretaking resources, and adoption homes. Today that number is estimated at around 3 million to 4 million - still about 10,000 adoptable pets killed each day. Though there is progress, an unconscionable number of loving lives still are snuffed out needlessly. Puppy mills and backyard breeders looking for a quick buck still exist, stealing homes from adoptable orphans, 25 percent or more of which are in fact purebred pets. The two solutions are: 1) adopt don't buy; and 2) spay or neuter owned pets.

There are additional reasons for being proactive. Spay-neuter surgery is long proven safe and is a health promoting procedure which can increase longevity. Every cat or dog who is spayed or neutered lives longer, stays healthier, and helps keep homes available for abandoned shelter pets. The pet overpopulation problem is real, ongoing, and recently made worse by the number of families who must give up pets due to dramatic life changes related to the economy.

Benefits of spaying female cats and dogs:-

- No heat cycles, therefore males will not be attracted-

- Less desire to roam-

- Risk of mammary gland tumors, ovarian and/or uterine cancer is reduced or eliminated, especially if done before the first heat cycle-

- Reduces the number of cats, kittens, dogs, puppies at risk for shelter euthanasia-

Benefits of neutering male cats and dogs:-

- Reduces or eliminates spraying and marking-

- Less desire to roam, therefore less likely to be injured in fights or auto accidents-

- Risk of testicular cancer eliminated, incidence of prostate disease decreased-

- Decreases aggressive behavior and risk of dog bite injuries-

- Reduces number and cost of unwanted pets which community taxpayers support-

Still undecided? Here's the cost of not spaying or neutering your pet:

1. Double license fees for dogs.

2. Higher "running loose" fines.

3. Higher probability (60 percent) of enlarged prostate, breast cancer, and other diseases.

4. Higher insurance costs and dog bite liability since most bites (76 percent) are by unaltered males.

5. Cost of cleaning cat spray marking or dog in heat discharge.

6. Cost of higher/more secure fencing or stronger door.

7. Costs of special care for cat and dog litters.

Take advantage of the local annual campaign for reduced surgical fees. Now is the time to spay and neuter your pets or to help a neighbor or senior neuter theirs. To participate in February's cost saving community low cost spay-neuter program, call 530-542-2857.

- Provided by the Lake Tahoe Humane Society and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to help "Keep Tahoe Kind." Dawn Armstrong is the executive director.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Jan 29, 2013 02:50PM Published Jan 29, 2013 02:47PM Copyright 2013 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.