Updated: Feb 11
In 2007 when I started volunteering at the League City Animal Shelter, there were 5-6 million companion animals killed in US animal shelters annually. That number has progressively declined to 1.5 million today. This problem continues to cost tax payers millions of dollars every year and it takes the lives of 670,000 dogs and 860,000 cats annually. The fastest way to “no kill” is no birth of unwanted litters.
Magic didn't bring this number down
It took advocacy and action by a lot of committed people. The declining rate of shelter euthanasia is a combination of several factors:
Greater access to High Volume-Low Cost Spay/Neuter clinics
Increased Utilization of Microchipping
Shelters becoming more community friendly and inviting
Realization Community Cats and Working Cats have value to humans
Evaluating the effectiveness Mandatory Spay/Neuter (MSN) and better alternatives
Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (PACT) makes some forms of animal cruelty a Felony
There are only 30 Veterinarian School in the US. It takes 7-9 years to train as a veterinarian, and more training to specialize in what’s considered Pediatric Surgery (prior to six months of age). So, in the last 12 years many more vets have been trained in this specialty and many have chosen to work in high volume spay/neuter clinics.
All high volume spay/neuter clinics in our area are nonprofits. To charge the low prices, to enable more people to afford to sterilize their pets, eliminates the possibility of profits. Low cost spay/neuter clinics charge about $70.00 for Kittens and $89.00 for Puppies. Another advantage to sterilizing your dog when they are a puppy is because as they grow bigger the fee increases.
These clinics frequently operate using grants, donations, and volunteers. Animal Alliance in La Marque annually receives thousands of dollars from Book-Kickers Bingo, PETCO Foundation, and PetSmart Charities grants. The nonprofit spay/neuter clinics are not full-service veterinarians. These clinics do not treat “sick” or “injured” animals, they leave that to the full-service veterinarians in the community. It is important for you to have a relationship with full-service veterinarian for your pet’s emergencies, illnesses, and accidents as they age. Hopefully this explains why the full-service veterinarians are higher in cost for sterilization. Full service vets are a better choice for sterilizing older animals or animals with high risks like a heart murmur or other medical condition.
Other than preventing unwanted litters of puppies and kittens, there are health advantages as well.
The benefit of neutering a male dog include curbing the desire to roam from home. Like cats unneutered dogs will do just about anything to find a mate, including escaping from the house or yard. More unsterilized dogs get hit by cars than neutered dogs. Roaming risks your dog getting into fights with other dogs, contracting a disease, getting lost, stolen or injured by extreme weather. Neutering a male dog decreased the incidents of hip dysplasia (except Golden Retrievers) and prevents testicular & prostate cancer. The benefits of neutering your male cat are the same with a few additional benefits. It will reduce the male cats urge to spray urine to mark their territory. When your male or female cat is roaming they are risk of contracting FIV or FeLV (Feline Leukemia), from another cat.
The benefits of spaying your female dog is that you won’t have male dogs hanging around your house or tolerate her female issues whenever she is in heat. Spaying virtually eliminates the development of Pyometras in dogs and cats. Pyometras are an infection of the uterus that is life threating and expensive to treat. Un-Spayed animals are sexually frustrated when responsible pet owners do not permit them to mate and satisfy those hormonally driven urges. Without estrogen these urges aren’t present, and the animal can focus on their human family rather than reproduction. Spaying before the first heat virtually eliminated the development of breast cancer later in life for both dogs and cats. Unneutered male cats prone to be infected with FeLV and will then infect any female cat when he bites her neck during the mating process. In these cases, the kittens will usually be born with FeLV.