The Payson Humane Society has fallen in line with many humane societies across the nation in adopting a policy requiring that all dogs and cats be spayed or neutered before being adopted.
The new policy, which became effective Nov. 1, replaces a system whereby people were allowed to adopt a pet and use a certificate to have the animal spayed or neutered when it was older, often six months old or more. The reason for the change: too many people some 10 to 20 percent of new pet owners according to Jim Larkin, humane society manager didn't follow through and have the appropriate procedure performed.
While some humane society employees and volunteers have resigned as a result of the new policy, objecting that spaying or neutering animals as young as two months old is not only cruel but can create long-term health problems, most authorities believe the benefits of such a policy far outweigh the liabilities that a slightly increased medical risk is well worth the price of reducing the burgeoning feral animal population. The policy has been endorsed by both the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Arizona Humane Society.
Besides, new medical advances have made the procedures virtually as safe as spaying and neutering animals at a later age. A study of the early spaying and neutering of cats summarized in the Dec. 1 issue of the Journal of the AVMA concludes that such procedures "may be performed safely in cats without concern for increased incidence of physical or behavioral problems...."
While we can appreciate the concern of those who love animals, the new policy seems to be overwhelmingly safe and a good alternative to the consequences of overpopulation. Combined with the fact that spaying and neutering prevent a host of medical problems including mammary cancer, we urge Rim country residents to continue to adopt pets from the Payson Humane Society.