Myths and facts about spaying/neutering pets (opinion) |

Myths and facts about spaying/neutering pets (opinion)

Niki Congero
Tribune Opinion Columnist
Alan is a very active, happy 3-year-old Border Collie mix. He loves to play with toys and he can run all day. Alan would make a great hiking or running partner. Come visit Alan out at The El Dorado County Animal Services, 530-573-7925. Don’t forget all animals come spayed or neutered, with all vaccinations and a microchip! For Spay-Neuter services and other support, call the Lake Tahoe Humane Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals at 530-542-2857.
Courtesy Photo |

In honor of World Spay Day, I wanted to share some myths and facts regarding spaying or neutering your pets with the hope it will encourage you to make the correct decision and have your furry family members spayed or neutered (females get spayed and males get neutered).

Myth: It’s better to have one litter before spaying a female pet.

Fact: Every litter counts. Medical evidence indicates just the opposite. In fact, the evidence shows that females spayed before their first heat are typically healthier.

Myth: I want my children to experience the miracle of birth.

Fact: The miracle of birth is quickly overshadowed by the thousands of animals euthanized in animal shelters in communities all across the country. Teach children that all life is precious by spaying and neutering your pets.

Myth: But my pet is a purebred.

Fact: One out of every four pets surrendered to animal shelters around the country are purebreds. There are just too many dogs and cats — mixed breed and purebred. About half of all animals entering shelters are euthanized.

Myth: I want my dog to be protective.

Fact: It is a dog’s natural instinct to protect home and family. A dog’s personality is formed more by genetics and environment than by sex hormones.

Myth: I don’t want my male dog or cat to feel like less of a male.

Fact: Pets don’t have any concept of sexual identity or ego. Neutering will not change a pet’s basic personality. Your pet will not suffer from any kind of emotional reaction or identity crisis when neutered.

Myth: My pet will get fat and lazy.

Fact: The truth is that most pets get fat and lazy because their owners feed them too much and don’t give them enough exercise.

Myth: But my dog (or cat) is so special; I want a puppy (or kitten) just like her.

Fact: Your pet’s puppies or kittens will have their own personality. Just because your pet has a great disposition doesn’t guarantee their offspring will. There are shelter pets waiting for homes who are just as cute, smart, sweet and loving as your own.

Myth: It’s expensive to have my pet spayed or neutered.

Fact: Most regions of the U.S. have at least one spay/neuter clinic within driving distance that charge $100 or less for the procedure. Here in South Lake Tahoe, you can contact the Lake Tahoe Humane Society and S.P.C.A. for information on their low cost spay/neuter program.

Myth: I’ll find good homes for all the puppies and kittens.

Fact: You may think you are finding good homes for your pet’s puppies or kittens, but how do you know for sure? Using portals like Craigslist is a common way people choose to find homes for their pet’s puppies and kittens. A lot of these animals end up in very bad situations, such as for fighting or use as bait. When pets are adopted from shelters the applicant has to apply; this way the shelter can verify that the pet is going to a good home. Shelter pets also come spayed or neutered with their vaccinations, and often a microchip. If your pet does have an accidental litter, contact your local shelter or humane society for assistance in getting them good homes.

The most important fact to know is that spaying and neutering your pets saves lives. In every community throughout the United States, there are unwanted animals sitting in shelters waiting to find forever homes. Nationwide, more than 2.7 million healthy, adoptable cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters every year. Spay/neuter is the only permanent, 100-percent effective method of birth control for dogs and cats.

Hopeful Henry is a column managed by Niki Congero, executive director of Lake Tahoe Humane Society & S.P.C.A. Submit questions or letters via e-mail to AskHenry@LakeTahoe or by mail to P.O. Box PET South Lake Tahoe, CA 96158. For more information, visit HumaneSocietySPCA, or

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