While most folks think of Cupid and chocolates during the month of February, we in the animal welfare biz like to highlight that February is NATIONAL SPAY/NEUTER MONTH! Did you know that cats are 45 times as prolific, and dogs 15 times as prolific, as humans?
Why is the month of February given this honor? Typically, spring and summer are dubbed “kitten/puppy season,” with rampant overproduction of puppies and kittens during this time. February is the perfect month to remind people to spay/neuter their pets before an unplanned pregnancy occurs. While the number of accidental canine pregnancies has dropped in our little bubble of Jackson, they often occur in our neighboring communities. Unwanted pregnancies bring free puppy giveaways, which sometimes leads to puppies that wind up with humans who have bad intentions or who will not care for them. As for cats, leaving a cat unaltered produces many, many kittens. An unspayed female cat can have 3 litters of 4-6 kittens each within one year, and can get pregnant as early as 4 months in age. An apocalypse could happen and cats would still find a way to reproduce!There are many other positive reasons to spay/neuter your pets beyond preventing reproduction. Our pets, although domesticated and usually spoiled, are still animals at their core and their natural instincts send them looking for a mate, when left intact. 80% of dogs that are hit by cars are wandering, intact males and 90% of the millions of cats that are killed on our roads each year are unaltered. Unaltered dogs also face a list of serious health problems that altered dogs do not face, such as mammary tumors, uterine cancer, testicular cancer, and prostate disease.
The development of low-cost and free spay/neuter programs (like we have at PAWS!) has significantly reduced the number of pets entering shelters or being euthanized in shelters each year. Television, advertising, and social media has increased our awareness of the importance and impact of spay/neuter. Who remembers Bob Barker at the end of the Price is Right? “Bob Barker here reminding you, help control the pet population, have your pet spayed or neutered.” While a number of states have proposed mandatory spay/neuter laws, there are currently no state laws requiring all pet owners to sterilize their animals. Some cities, such as Los Angeles, Dallas, and Las Vegas, have implemented spay/neuter ordinances within their localities with some exceptions. To learn more about spay/neuter laws: https://www.avma.org/Advocacy/StateAndLocal/Pages/sr-spay-neuter-laws.aspx
In 2018 PAWS of Jackson Hole issued over 1,300 spay/neuter surgery vouchers in Jackson, Star Valley, and Teton Valley. In the future, we hope to see a decline in our voucher numbers, which will mean that people are adopting shelter animals that are already spayed/neutered and that people aren’t breeding their own pets. Pets do not need our help to expand their numbers; they need our help to reduce their numbers until there are good homes for them all. Happy February you PAWesome people, and remember its hip to snip!
Want to meet a few of our recent spay/neuter voucher recipients?