Sterilization to Reduce euthanasia: Spay And Neuter


Various animals have been domesticated by man. Initially their purpose was either to be raised for food or to perform a job for humans. In today’s society technology has replaced many of the tasks these animals were once used for. Working animals can still be found however, the majority of animals, such as cats and dogs, are kept primarily as companions and household pets. The popularity of dogs and cats has ultimately led to an increasingly high pet population. Many pets are viewed as disposable and thrown to the streets or abandoned in shelters. Owners who do not spay or neuter their pets contribute to the growth of the pet population which increases the number of animals in the already overcrowded shelter, which in the end leads to high levels of euthanasia.

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Animals when left unaltered will have a strong desire to reproduce. Owners who do not desire to breed their animals should have them altered to reduce the chance of accidental breeding. Many owners breed for profit and personal gain; while other owners feel the need to allow their pets to breed at least once, or to leave them unaltered in case they decide to breed in the future. Female pets will not be offended, or disappointed if they aren’t allowed to breed. One will not be depriving them the joys of motherhood by having them spayed; animals only breed because it’s instinctual not because they desire to be a parent. When a female cat or dog comes into their season or heat the desire to reproduce is strong; even those kept indoors easily find ways of escaping only to return pregnant. Many kittens and puppies are born into the world only to wind up in shelters and eventually face euthanasia (McLaughlin 22).


When animals are bred, whether it is intention or accidental, they contribute to the rapidly increasing pet population. The result of these breedings is more animals that may or may not find a home. Those that do find homes may not remain so lucky, many are abandoned while others are abused and neglected, eventually being seized. The kittens and puppies that never find homes end up abandoned on the streets or dumped in shelters. Shelters all around the country are overflowing with unwanted and homeless animals. The Humane Society of the United States, HSUS, estimates that six to eight-million dogs and cats are cared for across the country by shelters (HSUS).


The crowding of the shelters inevitably leads to the death of approximately three to four-million dogs and cats each year. While there are no kill shelters and rescue organizations desperately trying to save these animals they too are fill to maximum capacity. When these organizations reach their limits the remaining unwanted animals must go somewhere and they wind up in kill shelters. These shelters also have limited amounts of space and resources and when these are used up the animals suffer. Many think that only strays and mongrels end up in these shelters, that they are the only ones facing euthanasia. However, that is false; purebreds die just the same as mongrels (USA Today 11).


Not having one’s pet altered only contributes to the problem of pet population and crowding of shelters. The responsible thing to do is to have one’s pets spayed or neutered unless you are a qualified breeder. Not only does sterilization reduce the pet population and the number of animals in shelters it also helps lower the rate of animals facing euthanasia. Spaying and neutering also has many health benefits. Since it prevents pregnancy there will be no fear of pregnancy complications. Alteration also reduces testosterone in males which can improve behavior and since the testicles have been removed there is no worry for testicular cancers. Altered pets in general have longer healthier lives (Shumate 37).

Works Cited


"Care about Cats, Dogs? Then Stop Breeding Pets." USA Today 27 Dec. 2005. Print.

"Common Questions about Animal Shelters : The Humane Society of the United States." The Humane Society of the United States : The Humane Society of the United States. 2011. Web. 28 Mar. 2011.

McLaughlin, Michael A. "Pet Overpopulation: An Uphill Battle." DVM: The Newsmagazine of Veterinary Medicine Nov. 2009: 22. Web.

Shumate, Rena. "Making an Impact on Pet Population." DVM: The Newsmagazine of Veterinary Medicine Mar. 2008: 37. Print.

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