Animal OverPopulation: Be a part of the solution

Spay and neutering

Suzanne Marie

There is nothing quite as cute and beguiling as a kitten, but what isn’t cute, is the number of kittens being surrendered to rescues and shelters, many losing their lives.

Spaying and neutering of pets is a vital importance for the health of a pet and for reducing the pet population in the community; reducing the numbers of unwanted offspring. Spaying a female not only stops her from being able to reproduce, but it also reduces her chances of mammary, uterine infections and other medical issues. She will also no longer have the unwanted heat cycles or go searching for a male to breed with.

Neutering a male dog greatly reduces his testosterone so he will be less likely to roam, often looking for a female in heat. It also reduces testicular and prostatic cancers. Unneutered dogs and cats often spray to mark their territory. Males often mount other dogs. Neutering male dogs reduces this and may prevent unwanted aggression.

When an animal is spayed or neutered, hormones and metabolism change, as the energy needed for reproduction, no longer needs to be met. Adjusting the pet’s caloric intake accordingly and continuing on a regular exercise program, will allow for maintaining a healthy body weight.

Spaying and neutering is also important for reducing the numbers of unwanted pets in the community. All over the United States, healthy pets are being euthanized, simply because there is no place for them to go. There are not enough homes for them. They end up in shelters and risk losing their lives, by humane and inhumane euthanasia.

Here, in Rutherford County, it is no different. Kitten season is here. The season where unaltered female cats are most likely to reproduce. And they can do it over and over again. They can come into heat every three weeks, producing multiple litters of unwanted kittens.

At the local shelter, here in Rutherford County, the Animal Control Services facility is over crowded with these unwanted animals. They have an open-door policy that is mandatory for our county. It means they will never stop taking in strays or owner surrenders. They take as many as they can until they have no choice but to euthanized otherwise healthy pets to make room for more.

There are no-kill rescues in the area as well. Brother Wolf Animal Rescue-Rutherford Chapter, PAWS, the Rutherford County Humane Society and CPC all work hard to save as many of these unwanted animals as possible. PAWS and CPC offer low-cost (or free) spaying and neutering programs. Some offer free pet food to those pet owners struggling to feed their animals, while others offer low cost vaccination clinics to help keep pets healthy. The biggest goal of these rescues is to help keep the animal in the home so that he or she doesn’t wind up being surrendered to Animal Control.

These rescue groups also work with the community in providing foster homes for those that are able to be rescued. These foster families are given everything they need, including necessary items like food, litter and toys and also all the medical care that the animal may need. All the foster has to do is provide a warm, loving and safe, indoor home until the animal can be moved to an adoption facility or become adopted. These foster families are so important in the rescue process.

Each rescue has foster families that volunteer their time and effort to help keep these animals alive. But rescues need MORE fosters! This time of year, the rescues are full with animals, mostly pulled from Animal Control but also taken from individual owners that no longer want their pet. Some foster families have multiple litters of kittens or a combination of a dog and kittens. The county just has way too many animals for the rescues to save them all. As many animals as these rescues save, there will always be more. This is why being a responsible pet owner, by spaying and neutering, is so important. It reduces the numbers of litters born here, therefore, reducing the numbers of animals euthanized. It is up to the community now to start helping.

There are countless ways the community can help. Besides spaying and neutering their pets, there are on-going lists of items needed for rescues. Cat food and litter, bleach, paper towels and crates and carriers are needed, just to name a few. More foster families mean more animals saved. Volunteers are needed at BWAR to clean the facility. All rescues accept monetary donations that always greatly appreciated and go directly to the animals. BWAR also has a thrift store called, Second Chances, that accepts gently used items to sell there. The Humane Society also has a thrift store in Lake Lure. The money earned goes directly to the animals.

There are many hard-working volunteers but still more are needed and it’s up to the community to pitch in. There are plenty of ways to help, you just have to ask and be willing the give a little of your time and effort.

*If interested in volunteering or fostering pets, please call one of these rescues! They all need your help!

  • PAWS (888) 422-7303
  • CPC (828) 287-7738
  • RC Humane Society (828) 286-0222
  • Brother Wolf RC (828) 287-7338