About every eight seconds, a cat or dog is euthanized in a U.S. animal shelter, according to The Humane Society of the United States. While some may be euthanized due to illness or injury, most are victims of human failure to provide them with the care they deserve. Despite the best efforts of shelters everywhere, there are still too many pets and not enough loving, responsible homes. The cost of pet overpopulation is staggering with more than $1 billion per year to provide community animal control services and care for homeless animals.
Those sobering statistics are the impetus behind Spay Day USA, an annual event when hundreds of community organizations coast to coast participate in activities that make it easier for people to get their pets spayed or neutered. February 27 is designated as the official Spay Day USA 2007, with more than 400 events happening throughout the month. More than 70,000 animals are expected to be spayed or neutered in February.
Animal experts agree that spaying and neutering is the best long-term solution to the problem of pet overpopulation.
"Cats and dogs who are spayed or neutered lead healthier lives, make better pets, and are not contributing to pet overpopulation," said John Snyder, HSUS vice president of Companion Animals. "It is shameful that millions of healthy cats and dogs are euthanized every year and The Humane Society of the United States is determined to keep working at this tragedy until it is solved."
The HSUS is coordinating Spay Day USA, working with local shelters, humane organizations, veterinary clinics, and individual volunteers to offer special spay-neuter events, deploy mobile spay-neuter clinics, raise money to subsidize spay-neuter surgeries, and increase awareness about the importance and benefits of spaying and neutering.
Local Spay Day USA Events
The HSUS is partnering with PETS 911, a nationwide network of local pet information, to create a clearinghouse of Spay Day USA activities. Through PETS 911's toll free phone number 888-PETS-911, callers can hear recorded messages (English or Spanish) about local events. The web site www.spaydayusa.org will also list events by state.
Benefits of Spaying and Neutering
In addition to reducing the number of homeless pets entering animal shelters, spaying and neutering offers significant benefits to pets and their families: Sterilized animals are less likely to run away.
Male cats are less likely to spray, and male dogs may be less likely to bite or get in fights with other dogs. Spaying female dogs and cats gets rid of heat cycles.
Spaying and neutering eliminates many common forms of cancer. This can reduce the costs of veterinary care.
Sterilized animals make better companions. They are less likely to develop behavior problems and generally have a better temperament.
Facts about Dog and Cat Overpopulation
Animal welfare groups have worked for decades to reduce the number of homeless animals. The overall number of animals euthanized every year in animal shelters is down from a peak of an estimated 13.5 million (22% of the owned pet population) in the early 1970s, to an estimated 3-4 million (less than 3% of the owned pet population) today. Around half of all animals entering shelters are euthanized. If more people spayed or neutered their pets, this sad statistic could be reduced.
A survey of 186 animal shelters showed an average cost of $176 to house and care for every homeless animal.
Spaying and neutering are safe, simple surgeries that stop animals from reproducing.
Healthy kittens and puppies weighing as little as two pounds can be spayed or neutered.
Spay Day USA
The Doris Day Animal League founded Spay Day USA in 1995 to reduce pet overpopulation. DDAL merged with The HSUS in 2006 to streamline and coordinate operations between the two animal welfare organizations.
Since its inception in 1995, more than one million animals have been spayed or neutered because of Spay Day USA, including more than 140,000 last year.
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization representing nearly 10 million members and constituents. The non-profit organization is a mainstream voice for animals, with active programs in companion animals and equine protection, disaster preparedness and response, wildlife and habitat protection, animals in research and farm animal welfare. The HSUS protects all animals through education, investigation, litigation, legislation, advocacy, and field work. The group is based in Washington and has numerous field representatives across the country. On the web at www.hsus.org.