Unwanted pets add up

Published: Tuesday, January 9, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 9, 2007 at 1:07 a.m.
I was very upset to read the Dec. 24 article "Mating games," about a family who left one unspayed female dog and one unneutered male dog in the backyard together and (surprise) found puppies soon thereafter. Unfortunately, this is a common case of irresponsible pet ownership.
Unaltered dogs will mate with each other no matter if they are different breeds and/or sizes. The same is true for cats. The result: Each day 70,000 puppies and kittens are born across the country. As long as these birth rates exist, there will never be enough homes for all the animals.
Currently between 5 million and 10 millon healthy dogs and cats die in animal shelters across the country due to lack of responsible homes. Others are left to fend for themselves against cars, the elements, animals and cruel humans.
The numbers don't lie. According to the American Humane Society, if an unspayed female dog, her mate and all of their puppies and their puppies' puppies are never neutered or spayed, it adds up: One year: 16; two years: 128; three years: 512; four years: 2, 048; five years: 12, 288; six years: 67,000. And these numbers are even higher for cats.
Females and males can be spayed or neutered as early as eight weeks. Not only does sterilization prevent pet overpopulation, it also provides numerous benefits to the animal's physical and behavioral health.
The Alachua County Humane Society provides low-cost or no-cost spay/neuter vouchers to all county residents. SPAY USA is a Web site that can also help out-of-county residents locate affordable sterilization programs in their areas.
If you have not spayed or neutered your pet, you are an irresponsible pet owner. Get it done, no excuses!

Amy Thomas,


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