Today I saw a post on Facebook about a “No Kill Coalition” asking people to join a movement to stop kill shelters. Thousands of animals are killed in shelters each day in the United States, because no one wants to adopt them. However, the solution to this problem is simple. Spay and neuter your animals. No one benefits from an oversupply of puppies and kittens that no one wants, or can afford to take care of. Feral cats and dogs have to find their own food and defend themselves from predators, can carry diseases and be dangerous to humans. Others end up in kill shelters that can’t afford to keep the volume of animals showing up. 

I have 4 pets (2 cats and 2 dogs), and 3 of them were “unintentionally” bred. When I first got my purebred puppy, I thought of breeding him. He was so adorable, and I could just imagine what his little puppies would be like. I had some romantic notion that he “deserved” to be bred at least once, but I eventually realized that this was a human notion and not something the dog knew or cared anything about, so I had him neutered. He has been healthy and happy ever since, and although he has escaped from the back yard once or twice, I never had to worry he had fathered puppies that would end up in a kill shelter.

Don’t get me wrong, some of my fondest childhood memories are of our family dog having puppies. Once she had 11 puppies on Christmas morning! But even if you can find homes for all of your animals, there are so many more that won’t get homes. I just didn’t see a reason to breed my animals when there is a ubiquitous supply of them. And shelters aren’t the only place to find unwanted pets – just look on craigslist at all the free kittens and puppies, or stop by your local supermarket where you will find boxes of animals being given away. My son only got to experience the joy of newborn animals by visiting friends and relatives, but in my mind it was even better that way. He still got to see plenty of kittens and puppies growing up (among other animals) without our dogs and cats having any. (And without us having to find homes for them all.)

There are many costs associated with having pets, including food, veterinary care, flea prevention, grooming products, and collars and leashes and toys, not to mention the time and attention they require to be happy. The cost of spaying and neutering is part of being a responsible pet owner, and prevents unwanted kitties and doggies from ending up in a kill shelter. Think twice before taking one of those free pets, or even buying one, if you might not be able to afford all the related costs. Finding out a beloved pet is sick and not having the money to pay for medical care is heartbreaking, and so is the fact that so many unloved, unwanted animals are being killed on a daily basis.

Unless you’re a breeder, or trying to make extra cash by breeding your animal, are there any other reasons not to spay and neuter? What do you think?