By Phil Snyder, Executive Director of Suncoast Humane Society
Published in the Englewood Sun on January 10, 2016
"Ouch!" he cried, when asked if he wanted to have his dog neutered. His wife, on the other hand, smiled and said, "Go for it." Why is it, with all the publicity on the benefits of both, that having our female pets spayed is more accepted than having the males neutered?
Yes, there are still those, mostly men, who wince at the thought. Those same men generally agree that female pets are better off being spayed. It is true that there is still a lot of work to be done to convince everyone of just how important it is to have their pets spayed or neutered.
Much more awareness and education is needed regarding the health and behavioral benefits, plus the rewards of knowing you are not contributing to the tragedies of pet overpopulation.
Humane society and animal control personnel hear all the bad and sometimes silly excuses stated for not having a male dog neutered. There are: "I do not want him mutilated; he will lose his machoism; he won't look cool anymore; it is so wrong and so unfair to him; I don't want my dog to feel less like a male; he won't be a guard dog and protect me anymore; and my favorite, not to worry, my pet is a purebred, he won't breed with a mix breed dog."
Thinking back, the humane movement has made progress with convincing people of the importance of spaying and neutering. As recently as the 1970s and '80s, many shelters started to introduce policies requiring the spaying of adopted females, but not the neutering of males. Policymakers just weren't convinced that it was necessary. After all, it was the females that had the litters. They didn't realize that one roaming male dog could be responsible for multiple litters. Public pressure and common sense finally set in, and both spaying and neutering were recognized as a solution. Local ordinances and state laws began to crop up, mandating the sterilization of animals adopted from shelters.
There are still some age-old nonsensical beliefs for not having a pet spayed or neutered. The pet will get fat and lazy; it's better to let a pet have one litter; and the dreadful, "I want my children to experience the miracle of birth." Perhaps they should become more aware of the tragedy of death caused by pet overpopulation and the lack of spaying and neutering.
Spaying and yes, NEUTERING, saves lives and reduce the number of homeless animals. Dogs and cats are born at a rate of 10 to 1 over human babies. In every community across the United State, there are animals sitting in animal shelters waiting for homes. National statistics show that only about half of those dogs and cats are ever adopted. Even with aggressive adoption programs, shelters cannot adopt their way out of euthanasia.
Please have your pets spayed and/or NEUTERED!