A well-known saying holds that “it takes a village to raise a child.” The same can be said of pet overpopulation – it takes an entire community to combat such a massive problem. February is Spay/Neuter Awareness Month and the BC SPCA is calling on all British Columbians to take action to help end the tragedy of pet overpopulation throughout the province.
“The disturbing reality is that there are still many more animals born in our province every year than there are homes for,” says Lorie Chortyk, general manager of community relations for the BC SPCA. “The SPCA and other rescue groups find homes for thousands of these abandoned or surrendered animals every year, but there are so many more who suffer and die after being abandoned by their guardians. It is heartbreaking because this is a completely preventable problem.”
A new video encourages pet guardians to promptly spay or neuter their pet before it’s too late and the Vancouver shelter hospital hosts its annual free feral cat clinic on Feb. 23. But the problem isn’t always about money.
“We find that with many pet guardians, it is attitude, in addition to cost, that prevents them from having their animals sterilized,” Chortyk says. “They love their pets but they don’t realize that by not having them spayed or neutered by six months of age, they may be impacting their pet’s quality of life and contributing to the needless suffering of countless unwanted offspring.”
The BC SPCA is encouraging animal lovers to spread the word to all pet guardians throughout British Columbia to help proactively fight the ongoing companion animal overpopulation problem.
Some of the benefits of spaying and neutering include:
Decreased aggression. Neutering generally reduces aggressive behaviours in pets. Neutered dogs are calmer and less likely to bite, attack, or get into altercations at the dog park. Neutered cats don’t have the drive to mark and protect their territory and are less likely to spray or get into cat fights;
Calmer, happier pets. Female cats go in and out of heat every three weeks between January and November. In addition to preventing unwanted litters, spaying your cat will reduce her desire to escape to find a mate, spraying or inappropriate elimination, howling and attracting unwanted male cats onto your property;
Increased health. Spaying or neutering your pet reduces the likelihood of them developing uterine, ovarian and testicular cancers;
Good overall pet care. Having your sterilized also provides an opportunity to have other important health procedures performed, as necessary, such as an identification tattoo or microchip or teeth cleaning. Spaying and neutering is done under a general anesthetic, so your pet won’t be in pain.
If cost is a concern, check for a local spay/neuter assistance program. The BC SPCA and other organizations provide assistance to low-income pet guardians where possible in many communities throughout the province.
The BC SPCA spends roughly $2 million each year on spay/neuter programs in communities throughout B.C. and ensures that every dog, cat and rabbit adopted from an SPCA shelter is sterilized prior to adoption.
For more information on spaying or neutering your pet, visit the BC SPCA today.
The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a not-for-profit organization reliant on public donations. Our mission is to protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in B.C.