30 October 2013
“Fixing” the Stray Problem
The cat and dog population is growing at an increasingly fast rate: much faster than the growth of the human population. As a result, stray cats and dogs are now crowding the streets of East Baton Rouge Parish. These strays are capable of spreading diseases, and since most are not tame, they may attack a pet or even a person. Therefore, it is very important that we control the stray population, if not for the sake of the strays, for the sake of the community’s pets and residents. In order to control the stray population, pet owners must take responsibility for their pets. This means that unwanted pets should be taken to shelters instead of being left on the streets to fend for themselves. The only issue many pet owners find with taking an animal to a shelter is that East Baton Rouge parish shelters are currently overrun with homeless animals and are forced to euthanize 4000 animals a year (“About Us”). In order to cut down on the overabundance of pets in shelters, pet owners must control their pets and prevent unwanted breeding. This means that indoor pets that have not been spayed or neutered should be closely monitored so that unwanted reproduction does not occur, and outdoor pets must be spayed or neutered. While surgery may seem like a drastic solution, spaying or neutering a pet will actually make it happier and healthier in the long run. Fixing the animal will also ensure that it will not and contribute to the overpopulation problem by breeding.
Many animal shelters are burdened with more animals than they can deal with. Consequently, U.S. shelters are forced to euthanize 2.7 million perfectly healthy cats and dogs a year (“Pet Overpopulation”
. Even the “no kill” East Baton Rouge Animal Control and Rescue Center has been forced to start euthanizing animals (“Crowded ‘No Kill’ Shelter”). Many of these animals that are euthanized in shelters are the unwanted offspring of family pets (“Pet Overpopulation”
. It is for this reason that many who find that they can no longer care for their pet simply let it run wild in the neighborhood rather than taking it to a shelter where it will likely be euthanized. While these people are well intentioned, they do not realize that life of a stray is very painful and often results in a premature death. In addition, letting unfixed animals loose in the community gives the animal the opportunity to reproduce, continuing this painful cycle. Jennifer Fiala states in her article that the encouragement of spay and neuter programs has tremendously increased the space available in shelters, but unwanted littermates are still a big reason why cats and dogs are being placed in shelters. In order to free room in shelters for pet owners who have genuinely found that they can no longer care for their pet, the number of unwanted litters must decrease; only then will pet owners have peace of mind knowing that placing their pet in a shelter will give that animal a fair chance of adoption. Unwanted litters can easily be prevented if more pet owners would spay or neuter their pets, but many pet owners refuse to take this route because they believe that the surgery is dangerous. This is a big misconception associated with the surgery. In reality, the surgery is a very simple procedure that can be done in under twenty minutes, and, according to Laura Sanborn, deaths due to complications in the surgery are a mere 0.1% .
This number drops even
further if the animal is fixed at the recommended 46 months of age. Fixing an animal at a young age also provides many health benefits which can lead to a longer, happier life. Of course, there are some who will disagree with the notion that spaying or neutering pets will make the animals healthier. Some pet owners are loath to fix their pets because they believe ...
Cited: Spay Baton Rouge, n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2013.
“Crowded ‘No Kill’ Shelter to Start Emergency Euthanasia Due to Overpopulation.”
Knight Broadcasting of Baton Rouge, Inc, n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2013.
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Mcmullan, Frederick. Personal interview. 23 Oct. 2013.
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Sanborn, Laura J. “LongTerm Health Risks and Benefits Associated with Spay / Neuter in
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