Why Spay/Neuter

Why Spay/Neuter

by cathleen timmons

Check out some of these statistics, FAQs, and myths


Puppies & Kittens Born Daily


People Born Daily


Pets Euthanized Daily


Percentage of Shelter Animals Euthanized due to Overcrowding

  1. Every day 70,000 puppies and kittens are born in this country while only 10,000 people are born. It’s simple math – there just aren’t enough homes for all of these animals.
  2. Every year over 6 million animals are euthanized in shelters for lack of available homes. If the number were “only” 7 million, that would mean 135,000 PER WEEK, or 20,000 pets euthanized EVERY 24 HOURS. 365 DAYS A YEAR!
  3. An animal is euthanized in the U.S. every 2 seconds.
  4. On average, 64% of all animals taken into shelters nationwide have to be euthanized for this reason.
  5. The animals at animal control shelters are not “problem” animals. The animals available for adoption have been picked up as strays or taken from the owner for abuse, or neglect. They are truly in need of a loving home and are greatly appreciative for a second chance at life.
  6. At least 50% of the overpopulation problem is non-neutered males. Females can’t do it alone.
  7. Purebreds account for 30% off all the animals in shelters. “Papers” don’t mean an animal should be bred.
  8. For every home you find for an animal that you have bred, a home is lost for a shelter animal.
  9. Breeding to “see the miracle of birth” demands that you also “see the tragic results”. Visit a shelter and watch a puppy being euthanized for every puppy your “miracle of birth” delivered.
  10. Animal overpopulation has reached a crisis point in this country.

You personally can make a difference by spaying or neutering YOUR pet.

It is the single most important thing you can do to prevent animal cruelty!

Each day 10,000 humans are born in the U.S. – and each day 70,000 puppies and kittens are born. This means there are 7 puppies and kittens born for every human baby — EVERY DAY! As long as these birth rates exist, there will never be enough homes for all the animals. As a result, every year 4 to 6 million animals are euthanized because there are no homes for them.

Most people are surprised to learn that we have a very large pet overpopulation problem here in the United States. There are so many animals born DAILY that it boggles the mind! This is a nightmare problem that doesn’t ever seem to get better.

There were 40,000 dogs put to sleep in Arkansas in the year 2000 because they could not find them a home. And, unfortunately, this, in most cases, is a small amount. In many cities, there are close to 50,000 pets each year that have no homes and no one to take care of them.

The Humane Society of the United States estimates that there are over 70,000 puppies and kittens born every twenty-four hours. That is a whole lot of babies! To even attempt to place those numbers of animals is impossible. There are about seven animals to every human born. The sad fact is that just is not possible to place them all.

Every year over 20 million animals end up in a shelter. Over 15 million of them are killed (euthanized is the nice term). Of those animals 61% of the dogs and 75% of the cats are killed. Very few of these are claimed and there are many more that die from disease, starvation, animal attacks and cars! Anyone who sees these facts must agree that not neutering an animal is contributing to mass cruelty and irresponsibility!

Spaying & Neutering is Healthier

Did you know that dogs are healthier when they are spayed or neutered? There are some diseases that happen less often in animals that have been spayed or neutered. That’s a good reason to give your dog the operation, isn’t it? It’s a very responsible thing to do.

Spaying will reduce the risk of breast cancer. Almost 50% of unsprayed dogs develop breast tumors. Benefits to your pet after neutering mean that females have less chance of ovarian cancer or uterine infections if it is done before their first “heat”. Each cycle they experience increases the chances of illness greatly, as much as ten times each! Spaying early almost eliminates this risk. Uterine diseases no longer a problem after spaying. Pyometra, (an infection that can be fatal) and uterine cancer are no longer a risk. Ovarian cysts that can be sometimes very painful are no longer even a consideration after spaying.

Neutering significantly lowers the risk of prostate gland and testicular cancer in male dogs. Almost 60% of intact males suffer from prostate cancer, why not make the odds a little better? Neutering eliminates the risk of testicular tumors as well. Males who are neutered have less of a desire to roam, fight, mark and be destructive.

Another benefit is that you will not have to clean up the mess which happens during each heat cycle!

Behavioral wise, your pooch or feline will be calmer and more reliable. You also won’t have male strays staying at your house trying to get to your female. And you will not have to deal with your dog trying to get out to get to the opposite sex by fence climbing, dirt digging, or any other way they can use to get out. This is their instinct, you can’t stop it. With cats, it’s prowling, spraying and fighting! From a behavioral standpoint, neutered animals are more reliable, stable and have about sixty percent (60%) less problems than those left “intact.”

It takes only one escape to find a female and become a villain of pet overpopulation. One cat and her kits will produce over 420,000 cats in about seven years!

Spaying and neutering also prolongs a pets life. Almost by twice the life span in cats, and a significant number of years for dogs.

A spayed or neutered pet is more likely to wander less, and runs less risk of being hit by a car, or being attacked by wildlife.

Spaying & Neutering Myths

Most of these myths have been passed along for years and years without any basis in fact. People still believe false statements like: “It will calm her down to have a litter” and “He needs to sow his oats,” or “It will make her/him more protective.” These are all inaccurate viewpoints and flat nonsense; and you have probably heard them all! Let’s look at a few more.

“My dog is a purebred so it’s ok if I breed”
The fact is that 25% of all animals found in a shelter are AKC or UKC purebreds. Know what that means? NOT MUCH! Those letters just mean they belong to a club and are registered to it. There is no guarantee of quality. In fact, most times those animals have some serious medical and behavioral problems. There are very few really good responsible breeders. When breeders are good, they are REALLY good and screen potential owners very closely. They also are careful about the animals they sell, their health and often pay for their training, neutering, or will take them back if they do not work out in the home.

“My pet is a male; I won’t have any litters”
These animals are a very big part of the pet overpopulation problem since they escape and breed with females in heat. They roam more, are more aggressive and sire hoards of litters for someone else to raise.

“It cost too much”
It will cost you a lot more to care for the puppies created by the dog! If you have a litter and take proper care of it your cost factors are much more than this procedure would ever be. It will also cost less than the vet bills incurred from your male running after the female in heat up the road, and getting injured by a car. There are programs for assistance for those who cannot afford to get the procedure done. Arkansans for Animals sponsor a low cost spay and neuter clinic for people with low income, people on disability, or senior citizens. In other areas, call your local vets to find out who participates. Note: Each stray animal costs taxpayers about $100 each to catch, feed, and destroy.

“My children should see the miracle of birth”
School programming, virtual computers or films can convey the same information in a more caring way. Visiting the local zoo or science center are other options too. Children can experience the birthing process other ways and enjoy it more. Almost all mothers hide when they give birth to their puppies or kittens. So they won’t actually see it, and when something goes wrong, will you have the monetary resources to pay for the emergency vet visit and treatment to save the mother and puppies lives? And what about all the hassles you will have to deal with through the process; the birth, raising all those babies, and the veterinary bills, finding “good” homes for the puppies, etc.

“She needs to have at least one litter”
Does a woman need to have at least one child? Having a litter does not in any way improve or change a pet’s disposition. It will however drain her body of nutrients, make her thin, can weaken her bones, and teeth.

“Spaying & neutering is painful for the pet.”
How painful is giving birth? Have you ever watched a female die in giving birth? I have. Have you ever spent days trying to save dying puppies? I have. Besides, surgery is performed under anesthesia and animals are usually back on their feet into normal activities within 24 to 72 hours. This slight discomfort is not harmful and prevents the suffering and death of hundreds of unwanted animals that could be born if you do not spay or neuter your pet.

“If I neuter him, he won’t be as protective.”
Instinct is not affected by hormones. In fact, most pets will actually be more effective at protection since they will have stabilized hormones. They are usually easier to train. Altered animals are protective and loyal to their owners and often will have reduced desires to wander, mark territory and fight with other animals.

“They’ll get fat and lazy”.
Not so. They need exercise just like they always did, but spaying them actually changes nothing as far as weight gain.

“A litter will calm my animal and having a litter will be better for her”
Veterinary medical evidence says otherwise. This is just not true.

“Only females need to be fixed, it’s not my responsibility”
As we all know it takes two to tango. Would you feel that way if it were your daughter? The female may end up with the litter, but it’s just as much his doing as hers. In the media we hear all about family values, this applies to responsibility for all life, not just humans. Not to mention if he impregnates the “wrong” female, her owner has grounds to sue.

“My pet is special”
Every animal is special. Most will never be duplicated. Think of all those special animals that are killed daily. Adoptees are very special animals.

“I paid good money for my dog, so I need to get my money back”
Most people do not realize the cost and responsibility involved in having a little of puppies. Reputable breeders are not in it for “the money”. They know there is usually no money, except “maybe” when you have a Champion dog. They breed for the love of the breed. To enhance the breed. If you purchased your dog from a “back yard” breeder or a pet store, you will most certainly not “enhance” the breed and will most likely lose money on vet bills. Plus, you will be adding to the over-population.

If this section still has not convinced you to neuter your animal, go visit a shelter. I challenge you to spend some time there. Ask when they euthanize animals & witness how the animals cringe, defecate in fear, and act when they are taken out to be killed.

Look them in the eyes and explain why you do not want to neuter your pet.