From a humane society point of view, spaying and neutering pets is the only realistic way to prevent an estimated 3 -- 11 million animals from being euthanized each year in the United States. The fact is there are more dogs and cats entering shelters than there are people willing to provide them with homes. Shelters, including Payson Humane Society, are overwhelmed with unwanted animals on a daily basis. It is time for pet owners to step up to the plate and do the right thing -- spay or neuter those pets.
There are excuses or myths that people use to avoid neutering their pets: Males don't need to be neutered, just females. Females should have at least one litter. It will make my pet fat. We want to let our children see the miracle of birth. We'll find homes for the litter. Such attitudes are plainly irresponsible pet ownership.
Let's take a look at male dogs. Young male dogs are very energetic, simply because of their age. Then add in a heavy dose of testosterone and you have the potential for many behavioral problems such as urine marking in the house, aggression towards other male dogs, territorial aggression and escape-oriented behavior. Intact males may not be able to sleep or eat if a female in heat is nearby. The risk for aggression toward children is much increased for intact male dogs. Health benefits that come with neutering a male dog are a reduction in testicular tumors and prostrate gland problems.
In wolves, the estrus cycle comes about once a year, but we humans have selectively bred dogs to be more productive and thus more profitable. Female dogs come into heat twice a year and attract males for almost 3 weeks. Estrus can cause moodiness. Hormone changes during pregnancy can make some females downright aggressive. It's really no fun having a female dog in estrus. Unless you're prepared to diaper her or deal with blood stains on the carpet, get her spayed. You won't be able to walk her anywhere without a full entourage of suitors in hot pursuit. Then comes the expense of producing a litter: special diets, vaccinations, periodic vet visits and two months of housing, cleaning and feeding the youngsters. When they're ready to find homes, there is the expense of advertising and time spent on the phone or showing the animals to prospective buyers. And then there's the hassle of leftover puppies and kittens no one takes.
Cats are incredibly efficient reproducers. Cat breeding season from February to October is getting longer with global warming. Female cats come into heat as often as every two weeks and won't stop unless they're allowed to reproduce. Cats needing a mate will wail, rub and dart out the door at the slightest opportunity.
Spay/neuter surgery helps produce healthy, good-tempered pets. It means your pet will not contribute to the overpopulation of unwanted pets. It is recommended that pets be neutered between 2 to 6 months of age before they reach sexual maturity. Your pet will be happier and more content by eliminating sexual distraction. Neutered dogs are better able to concentrate while training or working. Neutered pets get along better with one another.
The solution to pet overpopulation is to limit the number of animals being born until they equal the number of people who want and can afford to care for them. Overpopulation devalues the quality of life for all pets. Please don't breed or buy while shelter animals die!
Here are some of the homeless pets at Payson Humane Society that will be competing against all the puppies and kittens that will flood our shelter again this spring:
Black Jack is an awesome 9-month-old neutered male Black Labrador Retriever mix. He strikes a magnificent figure with his shiny black coat, long legs and proud head. When we walk him on leash, heads in passing cars turn and faces smile. It is hard to believe that not too long ago, Black Jack was abandoned in the desert near Superior to fend for himself. When he was found by ATVers, he was nothing but skin and bones covered with ticks. A rescue group brought him back to health and then to our shelter. Black Jack gets along great with other dogs and loves nothing more than a playful romp among them in our doggie park. He is very friendly and well-behaved, but will need some experience with leash walking to gain confidence. He's a big guy that will require a handler who's up to the task of getting him out for regular walking, swimming or fetching a ball. BJ's kennel habits lead us to believe he is housebroken.
Daisy is an especially dear 6-year-old spayed female Rottweiler. You could not ask for a better behaved dog than Daisy. She is perfection personified! Walking her on leash is absolutely effortless. She knows basic commands like sit and stay. Daisy came to our shelter with Diablo the handsome Husky and, if possible, we would love to adopt them to the same family because they get along so well. Daisy is a true sweetheart of a dog.
Jake is the sweetest 2-year-old neutered male Blue Heeler. His colorful, merle coat is soft and curly and so are his whiskers. His stand-up ears are soft and wonderful to touch. Jake is a real cowboy character. He likes to hold the leash when you take him for walks, as though he's in charge. Give him a stick to carry in his mouth as replacement therapy. Jake is so much fun to play with. He's a big league ball player and is especially fond of squeaky balls. Try the two-ball technique with him, as he won't give you the ball unless he gets another one. He loves treats and sits like a good boy to let you feed him a biscuit or cheese stick. He's super with children and will probably herd them around the yard, being the good cattle dog he is. He would make a great agility dog if you have the time to teach him tricks and moves. Jake is housebroken and rides like a gentleman in the car.
Purrecious is a lovely 1-year-old spayed female kitty. She has a cloud-soft cream-colored coat with tinges of apricot around her ears. Her almond eyes are azure blue. This sweetie likes to sleep under the covers with you and give you gentle kisses. She also likes to nibble peanut butter on crackers. Purrecious will make the most adoring companion in return for your compassionate care of her for the rest of her life.
Simon is a heavenly 4-year-old neutered male Siamese cat. He has a luxurious medium length coat and sky-blue eyes. His stunning looks are equaled only by his stellar personality. What a sweet boy Simon is! If you are a fancier of the Siamese breed, you are going to love this wonderful cat.
For more information on these and other adoptable pets, call 474-5590 or online, visit www.paysonhumanesociety.com.