More Thoughts on Spaying and Neutering

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As most of our visitors are already aware of the need for spaying and neutering pets, it might sound like I am preaching to the choir. However, repetition of the benefits of fixing dogs can add to your arguments when you try to persuade someone to understand the realities of pet overpopulation. Those points will be toward the end of this article.

A number of years ago, when I was not teaching during the summer, I started working for the American Humane Association. Among other responsibilities, I was asked to do research on spay and neuter laws for a new proposal for Los Angeles.

First, we had to consider our local population. With the entertainment field being such a large part of our local economy, we knew that we should consider allowing animal actor trainers to maintain their franchise dogs for continuity purposes. The next group for consideration was the professional breeders – those who care about the integrity of the breed. These people can arguably claim legitimacy for their pedigree breeding and spend thousands of dollars making sure that their dogs are healthy and able to have litters.

We knew that we had the dog rescue people with us. However, educating the general population about pet overpopulation was a big hurdle. Our tact was to stress the economics of spaying and neutering. We knew that altered dogs, especially males, were less aggressive than those unaltered. At the time, the insurance industry said that over a billion dollars a year was the cost of dog bites nationally when you include work absences and medical treatment.

Talking to automobile insurance claims adjusters from various companies we also found that many of them had heard customers say that their car accidents were due to avoiding stray animals that caused them to swerve into parked cars or causing other property damage.

If you are trying to get more stringent spay/neuter laws in your community, find out what the economics are locally. People and local governments weigh economics heavily when they are considering new legislation especially those who are up for reelection.

The most important thing to know about spaying and neutering is that it saves lives. In every U.S. state, there are animals sitting in animal shelters waiting for homes. Only about half of those dogs and cats will ever get one. The other half will be euthanized.
Making the decision to spay or neuter your pet means fewer pets—pets as sweet, loving, healthy, and deserving of companionship as your own—will be euthanized for lack of a home.

It is not true that a female dog needs to have at least one litter to stay healthy.
Female dogs that are spayed before they have a litter have a greatly reduced risk of breast, ovarian, and uterine cancers, as well as fewer mammary tumors.

Without a heat cycle, male dogs that are roaming won’t wind up on your property.
Male dogs that are neutered are less likely to roam which means they are less likely to get injured, cause property damage, and/or bite people for which you are financially liable.

Male dogs which are neutered have reduced risks of testicular cancer.

Spayed and neutered dogs aren’t going to necessarily gain weight. If they do, it’s because they are overfed and/or under exercised.
For those who say that their dog is a pedigree and they want others just like them, remind them that 1 in 4 pets in the shelter are also pedigrees. About half of theos brought to shelters are euthanized.

For those who say that they want their children to witness the miracle of birth, remind them that not all puppies in the litter survive. A better idea is to teach your children the value of life by spaying and neutering.

© Bruce Malter, PawPassion.org