Last year, over THREE THOUSAND animals walked in the doors of the Lee County Humane Society, and an overwhelming number of them were puppies and kittens.
Far too many animals starting out their lives without homes, or people to care for them. Pet overpopulation continues to be a problem here in East Alabama, and with a very warm fall, and a late start to winter, the breeding season has extended even longer this year. We were still having brand new litters being brought into the shelter, in December! To reduce the number of unwanted dogs and cats, it is vital that every pet owner spay or neuter their companion animal, and there are PLENTY of good reasons to do so.
1. Your female pet will live a longer, healthier life. Spaying helps prevent uterine infections and breast cancer, which is fatal in about 50 percent of dogs and 90 percent of cats. Spaying your pet before her first heat offers the best protection from these diseases.
2. Neutering provides major health benefits for your male. Besides preventing unwanted litters, neutering your male companion prevents testicular cancer.
3. Your spayed female won’t go into heat. While cycles can vary, female felines usually go into heat four to five days every three weeks during breeding season. In an effort to advertise for mates, they’ll yowl and urinate more frequently-sometimes all over the house!
4. Your male dog won’t want to roam away from home. An intact male will do just about anything to find a mate! That includes digging his way under the fence and making like Houdini to escape from the house. And once he’s free to roam, he risks injury in traffic and fights with other males.
5. Your neutered male will be much better behaved. Neutered cats and dogs focus their attention on their human families. On the other hand, unneutered dogs and cats may mark their territory by spraying strong-smelling urine all over the house. Many aggression problems can be avoided by early neutering.
6. Spaying or neutering will NOT make your pet fat. Don’t use that old excuse! Lack of exercise and overfeeding will cause your pet to pack on the extra pounds-not neutering. Your pet will remain fit and trim as long as you continue to provide exercise and monitor food intake.
7. It is highly cost-effective. The cost of your pet’s spay/neuter surgery is a lot less than the cost of having and caring for a litter. It also beats the cost of treatment when your unneutered tom cat escapes and gets into fights with the neighborhood stray!
8. Spaying and neutering your pet is good for the community. Stray animals pose a real problem in many parts of the country. They can prey on wildlife, cause car accidents, damage the local fauna and frighten children. Spaying
and neutering packs a powerful punch in reducing the number of animals on the streets.
9. Your pet doesn’t need to have a litter for your children to learn about the miracle of birth. Letting your pet produce offspring you have no intention of keeping is not a good lesson for your children-especially when so many unwanted animals end up in shelters. There are tons of books and videos available to teach your children about birth in a more responsible way.
10. Spaying and neutering helps fight pet overpopulation. Every year, millions of cats and dogs of all ages and breeds are euthanized or suffer as strays. These high numbers are the result of unplanned litters that could have been prevented by spaying or neutering.
There is even an affordable Spay/Neuter program to help low income residents of Lee County get their pets spayed or neutered. The program is financed by the Lee County Commission, and the Auburn, Opelika and Smiths Station City Councils .In order to take part in the program, one must be able to provide proof that they live in Lee County, and that they are either eligible for Medicaid, or that their household income is less than $25,000 per year. Those interested must visit the Animal Health Center and Opelika Animal Hospital on Tuesday or Wednesdays between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. for an application, or you can stop by the LCHS Shelter at 1140 Ware Drive during our normal business hours, Tuesday- Sunday, Noon -5:00pm. If approved, eligible residents only have to pay a co-pay of $5 for a cat and $10 for a dog (cash only) to have their pet spayed or neutered.
Weekly Wish: Consider donating to LCHS’s Spay and Neuter Fund by mailing a check to the shelter with “Spay Neuter Fund” in the memo, or donating online at http://leecountyhumane.org/ways-to-help/donate/