February is not just another month of the year for animal shelters. For many of us, it’s a special month because we take part in a national event, attempting to combat a major problem. Specifically, February is National Spay/Neuter Month, and many shelters sponsor free or low-cost spay/neuter for the entire month. Often, the last Tuesday in February is referred to
as “Spay Day U.S.A.” We will spay or neuter 100 pets on this important day.
This month is a wonderful opportunity to about the importance of spay-and-neuter programs. One of the greatest challenges any animal shelter faces is dealing with pet overpopulation. When the North Shore Western Pennsylvania Humane Society shelter first opened, many staff members thought we would never run out of room in our enormous new building.
Since then, though, we’ve found ourselves leaving our doors open to thousands of animals in need of help, and as a result we push ourselves to do everything we can for them, even if it means sharing our office space with them. In total, we sheltered over 14,000 pets last year.
Unfortunately, many pets are born into lives of neglect and even abuse because of pet overpopulation. That’s why spay-and-neuter programs are so important. Spaying one cat can prevent the birth of 55 kittens. Additionally, many in the public are not aware of the necessity and importance of spay-and-neuter programs. For example, how many of us know why February the month for this national event? Why not host this event in the summer or fall? Many dogs and cats actually go into their first heat of the breeding cycle this month – meaning February is the beginning of potential for unwanted litters of kittens and puppies.
Today, myths about spaying and neutering sadly continue to run rampant. These myths include that you cannot spay an animal unless it’s already had at least one litter, or that spaying and neutering will somehow negatively affect your pet’s health or personality. Spaying and neutering actually promotes good health by reducing the risk of reproductive cancers and calming tomcats, which have an inclination to fight. It improves a pet’s indoor manners – meaning, they won’t want to mark your carpet as part of their territory. Most importantly, the universal reason to spay or neuter your pet is to help bring an end to pet overpopulation. There are simply not enough “good homes” to go around for all the pets out there, and shelters often do not have the room to care for every animal.
Because of this, low-cost spay and neuter programs are an incredibly important piece of the animal care puzzle. Adoptions, another important part of every shelter’s mission, do not tackle population problems directly. All pets adopted at our shelter are spayed or neutered before they go to their fur-ever homes. And for us, every month is National Spay/Neuter Month. And because we are committed to solving the problem of pet overpopulation, we offer ‘Spay Days’ ever month. One Spay Day, where 100 pets are altered, costs $5,000. Be a PAL: Help Western Pennsylvania Humane Society Prevent Another Litter by encouraging Spay and Neuter in your community and donating now to help us sponsor ‘Spay Days’ through out the year.
by Larissa Gula