There are multiple reasons!
First, there are WAY too many dogs and cats in Carroll County. There are simply not enough homes for them. They reproduce at alarmingly fast rates and these unwanted litters have few places to go. Many of them become victims of dumping which is illegal, incredibly irresponsible, and cruel. The unlucky recipients of dumping are then left to find homes for animals they did not ask to receive. Many people try to give away their litters which often require sitting in a parking lot and asking passing people to take one. Results are often unsuccessful and many of these give-aways will not be spayed or neutered and the problem just repeats itself.
Second, dealing with the overpopulation of companion animals is an enormous tax-burden. Almost 6 million animals are euthanized every year and this costs money. In 2009, the United States spent $1.4 BILLION dollars of tax-payers money on animal control to cover the expenses of animal control buildings, staff, vehicles, and of course euthanasia. Most unwanted animals – adults and their litters - are taken to animal control facilities. In many cases, these animals have almost no chance at a home because these facilities are overcrowded with daily intakes and do not have the space to keep every animal more than a few days. They are ultimately euthanized either on site or taken to local vet clinics. The bodies are placed in freezers and are then deposited in designated landfills. Southern states have the highest rates of euthanasia because the South has the lowest spay/neuter rates in the country. The only proven way to reduce the overwhelming numbers of unwanted dogs and cats and reduce this staggering cost is to spay and neuter.
Third, dogs and cats reproduce at warp speed. One dog and her offspring can produce 67,000 puppies in 6 years, and one cat and her offspring can produce 420,000 kittens in 7 years. There are never and there never will be enough homes for every single puppy or kitten.
Fourth, altering your pets is the best thing you can do for their overall health. Spayed females do not have to experience the pain and difficulty of having a litter of puppies or kittens. Spayed females have no chance of getting ovarian or uterine cancer and have a much lower chance of developing breast cancer. Pet owners also do not have to deal with the mess, noise, and frustration of females coming into heat.
Neutering your males is a tremendous benefit to their overall health and makes them better pets. Neutered males are less likely to roam, fight with other dogs/cats, “mark” their territory which means either hiking their leg or spraying your furniture, automobiles, landscaping, or other personal possessions. Neutered males can not develop testicular cancer and have a much lower risk of developing prostate cancer. One of the biggest frustrations that CCHS has with male pet owners is many think they do not have to neuter their male dogs because the males can not have puppies. Males can not give birth, but the females do not get pregnant by simply walking by a pumpkin patch. Females AND males both have a role in unwanted litters. Plus, females can only become fertile certain times of the year. But, males are equipped to father multiple litters every day. Neutering male dogs and cats is still part of the overall process of using spaying/neutering to curb unwanted litters and keeping them happy and healthy.
MYTH: People think they can make money by breeding their dogs.
FACT: Get ready for the expenses to roll in. Breeding animals is expensive. Stud fees, vet exams, medical care, extra nutrition for mom, whelping boxes, c-sections, pediatric care, and puppy vaccines can add up to a LOT of money. People are often shocked to realize that the cute little fluffballs (if they live through puppy-hood) are not sold for $1000 each. Puppies – even purebred puppies – are in abundant supply and selling an entire litter often results in only a few dollars of profit or a financial loss for several months of headaches.
MYTH: Spaying or neutering your pet will make him/her lazy and fat.
FACT: Animals get fat for the pretty much same reason most people get fat – too much food and not enough exercise. Working dogs that love to herd and hunt will still love to herd and hunt after being spayed and neutered. They are bred for those activities and having them altered does not alter their genetic code which programs them for certain tasks.
MYTH: Dogs and cats want to experience motherhood.
FACT: Have they actually told you they want a litter of kittens or puppies? Animal experts will agree that animals can not speak actual words and formulate complete sentences to tell you they want to be parents. Truthfully, they could care less. Animals reproduce because their hormones tell them to. They have no control over reproduction. Only pet owners can control reproduction, and being a responsible pet parent includes altering them to make their lives easier, happier, and healthier.
MYTH: I love my pet and would like to have another just as sweet as him/her.
FACT: Offspring rarely can replace the temper or personality of a parent. Each animal is unique. What happens if none of your dog or cat’s offspring is like their parents? Do you just keep breeding and breeding them to get that ONE desirable puppy or kitten? What happens to all the rejects? Yep – they will end up in freezers just like all the other unwanted puppies and kittens. The idea that you can get an identical clone of your favorite pet through breeding is misguided.
MYTH: You don’t want to or think you should have to alter your pets because they are purebred.
FACT: Shelters and rescues also have plenty of purebred animals. Statistics indicate that at least 25% of all shelter animals are purebred, and breed rescues will tell you there is no shortage of purebred animals looking for homes. A simple rule about altering is unless your dog or cat has shown at Westminster, they have no business reproducing.
MYTH: Spay/neuter surgery is dangerous and painful for my pet.
FACT: Spaying and neutering is a surgical procedure that requires general anesthesia. As with ANY surgical procedure (such as c-sections for a female who can not give birth naturally), spaying and neutering does have a risk. However, the risks of what will happen to your unaltered pet are much greater than the risk of surgical complications. Altered animals will be sore and uncomfortable for a few days after the procedure. Neutered animals recover very quickly, and adult females are back to their normal selves within a week. Veterinarians will give them medication for pain and infection at the time of the surgery.
The bottom line is that spaying and neutering is the ONLY proven way to reduce the numbers of companion animals. Adoptions and euthanasia will not solve the problem.
Please spay/neuter your pets.