National Spay Day USA promotes saving animals Lives
by Patricia Collier
It's hard to comprehend the seriousness of pet overpopulation
until one learns the facts which we lay out for you here.
According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), it
only takes seven years for one female cat and her offspring to
produce 420,000 cats. In six years, one female dog and her
offspring can give birth to 67,000 dogs.
While those numbers are astounding, it's sobering to learn how
few of those animals will actually end up in caring, loving
HSUS estimates eight to ten million cats and dogs enter shelters
in the United States each year and four to five million of those
animals -- at least half -- are euthanized.
The problem is clear: there are too many pets and not enough
homes. And not enough humans educated on how they and their pets
can be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
Spay Day USA, organized by the Doris Day Animal Foundation, was
initiated ten years ago to offer solutions. Raising public
awareness of the pet overpopulation problem and promoting spay
and neuter services are the primary goals of the program.
Spay Day 2004 will be held Tuesday, February 24, 2004. The theme
chosen for this year's event is "Be PET-riotic." Participating
veterinarians across the country will be offering reduced-cost
spay and neuter surgeries during February.
According to organizers, an estimated 225,000 companion, and
feral animals were spayed or neutered during the program last
year, including dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets, and horses.
Spaying and neutering does more than keep unwanted animals from
being euthanized. It's also healthier for the animal.
Spaying dogs and cats greatly reduces their risk of breast cancer
and helps prevents various reproductive tract disorders.
Neutering eliminates testicular cancers and can often help with
behavioral problems, such as aggression and spraying.
Spay Day USA organizers said they want the program "to inspire
each humane American to take personal responsibility for
preventing the births of surplus litters."
They said anyone can participate, either by having their own pet
spayed or neutered, or by offering to pay for the spay or neuter
of a friend's or relative's animal companion animal.
People can also donate money to pay for the spay or neuter of a
shelter animal awaiting adoption, a feral cat, or to help with
the cost of the procedure for pet guardians who are elderly or on
"Education is key to combating the pet overpopulation problem,"
said Stephanie Shain, The HSUS's Director of Companion Animals
"Unless people know the facts about animal overpopulation and
sterilization, they are virtually helpless to do anything about
the problem," Shain said.
© 2004 Animal News Center, Inc.
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