The Pet Overpopulation Problem

When it comes to spaying and neutering dogs and cats, some animal lovers are staunchly adamant about the need for the procedures and some even go so far as to believe that every single dog and cat should be spayed or neutered. It may seem like an unnecessary practice, but in fact, most of these people want it that way with good reason. The overpopulation of pets in the United States results in the unnecessary death of millions of animals every year, which is why it needs to be addressed as quickly as possible by all means available.

The Problem

Here in the United States, we are in love with our pets. More so than people in almost any other country on the planet, Americans love to love their pets. We love to spoil them with food, overfeed them treats, dress them up in miniature clothing, take them out to run all our errands with us, and even exercise with them. Some people will do just about anything for their pets and some people include their pets as family. If we love pets so much, why then are we not doing our best to manage the severe pet overpopulation problem that is currently plaguing our nation?

6-8 million dogs and cats enter animal shelters pet overpopulationacross the US every year and only 3-4 million make it out, according to data from the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy. The rest are euthanized by one of a number of procedures. That means every year across the country, just as many dogs and cats are killed as they are adopted. That reveals a serious problem within our nation that needs to be addressed before it continues to worsen, which brings me to the solution: spaying and neutering.

Fixing Your Pet

Spaying and neutering our dogs and cats is the easiest and most effective solution to helping curb pet overpopulation and reduce the number of innocent animals killed every year in shelters. There are only so many animal shelters in the country, around 3,500 to be exact, and they can only take in so many animals at a time. Once most shelters are full, they begin euthanizing for space.

Many times, a person’s dog or cat will become pregnant without the owner’s initial knowledge and will give birth to babies that the owner doesn’t want. Oftentimes, the owner will drop off both the mother and the babies at the animal shelter, not wanting to deal with the hassle of trying to adopt out the puppies. Outdoor cats who remain unfixed give birth to litters quite often. One female cat and her offspring will produce 100 cats in seven years, assuming that all adult cats remain alive for all seven years, according to the Feral Cat Project

Need for Change

According to the APPA information, 83.3 million dogs are owned in the United States, along with 95.6 million cats. A great majority of these, 83% of dogs and 91% of cats, are spayed or neutered. Regardless of these high numbers, breeding continues to happen due to breeding operations, both licensed and unlicensed, and unaware owners.

Without a change in policy regarding the breeding of pets, the perpetual euthanasia in animal shelters across the United States cannot and will not change. It’s imperative that we as pet owners step up and take responsibility for our pets and their actions. Getting them spayed and neutered is an excellent way to help prevent an unwanted burden and keep extra animals out of the shelter.

Next time you decide to adopt a pet, think about committing yourself to getting that pet spayed or neutered, as well. Spaying and neutering pets can not only prevent health problems (which will be discussed in an upcoming post), but can help save lives, too.

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