February is an international spay/neuter awareness month with Spay Day being celebrated on Tuesday, February 26. Spay Day was originally introduced in 1995 by the Doris Day Animal League and the annual promotion now includes participants in dozens of countries. So why is there so much emphasis on spaying and neutering aka altering the world’s companion, feral and street animals?
There are simple reasons for spay and neuter and many myths and misunderstandings against the procedures to be dispelled:
- Spaying and neutering cats and dogs reduces the millions of unwanted animals that face euthanization
- Spaying and neutering cats and dogs provides health benefits, reducing or eliminating the risk of cancers and life-threatening uterine infections
- Spaying and neutering saves pet owners’ money by reducing damage caused by amorous escaping dogs, veterinary bills treating unaltered pets’ ailments and the cost of license fees
- Altered animals only get fat if overfed and under-exercised
- Altered animals behavior changes are usually for the better
- Children will survive without seeing the miracle of live birth
- There are usually not enough friends or relatives to take on a litter of puppies or kittens
- Hobby breeders barely break even after veterinary and whelping costs
- A male dog can smell a female in heat from three miles away and will make every attempt to reach her
- A female dog in heat will make every attempt to find a mate, any mate
- Male and female cats are similarly indiscriminate
Visit WorldSpayDay.org to see the numerous groups that have partnered to provide participation, event and educational information. For instance, PetSmart Charities® Beat the Heat grant program will fund clinics in 31 states focusing on cats before the feline spring heat cycle. Last year’s February drive achieved 17,000 altered cats in February alone.
“PetSmart Charities is excited to be involved with World Spay Day,” said Aaron Asmus, PetSmart Charities Program Manager. “We know the efforts of animal welfare organizations across the country are working toward a common goal of reducing the number of unplanned births through spay and neuter programs and saving more lives through adoption.”
Meanwhile, all concerned organizations ensure spaying and neutering can be achieved all year. If a veterinarian’s fees are too high SpayNeuter.com and SpayFlorida.org provides help finding the closest low cost facilities in Florida. Many counties provide economical options, such as Marion County Animal Services Division and its Neuter Commuter mobile spay and neuter clinic and Citrus County has the Humanitarians of Florida Inc., in Crystal River. Spread the word, share the knowledge and save a pet. Millions of them.