In just about every community, there are homeless, lost, and unwanted animals. In our province, too many cats roam our city streets and rural areas, and homeless dogs wander alongside their feline counterparts. As the fallout from the Pandemic continues, the RHS has seen over 1,600 cats and over 600 dogs enter the Shelter this year, which is an alarming 15% increase in the case of the canines. Many of these animals had endured starvation, numbing cold, or blistering heat. Others had been injured by vehicles, other animals, predators, or even people. The RHS uses many programs and initiatives to help save the lives of these lost or unwanted souls and is able to return many to their families or find homes for most of them, but it is unfortunately not sustainable long-term. Should the trend continue, it could be devastating for our animals and community.
The single most effective solution to pet overpopulation is spaying or neutering your pet. By preventing unwanted litters of puppies and kittens, we spare these animals the suffering that many will endure as they try to live without a home and proper care, threatened by disease, the elements, and other animals and people. In addition to this, sterilization has benefits for you and your pet. Spayed and neutered pets have reduced rates of certain cancers (particularly of the reproductive systems), they typically roam less and thus avoid the dangers of the streets, they are less prone to “marking” and spraying, and they tend to show less aggression and dominance behaviours.
In spite of the benefits to the individual pet, their family, and the community, many pet owners still choose not to sterilize their pets and for a myriad of reasons. Some, unfortunately, are fuelled by the many myths that float around the internet and other places.
Here are some truths behind some of the more widespread myths regarding sterilizing your pets:
MYTH: My children should experience the miracle of birth, so my pet should have a litter.
FACT: The miracle of birth is quickly forgotten when these litters become a burden when no homes can be found for them. Often, they experience unbearable suffering on the streets, are abandoned in a field, are run over by vehicles, are attacked by other animals or become ill due to lack of proper living conditions, food, and care. Teach children that all life is precious by spaying and neutering your pets.
MYTH: I want to breed my pet.
FACT: There are many reputable breeders who breed their animals responsibly, and most already have homes for offspring before they are bred. Unfortunately, too many people simply become “backyard breeders” and contribute to the number of unwanted animals by breeding animals in the hope of a quick profit. This was particularly true as some saw an opportunity to cash in on high pet demand during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many make the mistake of assuming they will be able to find homes for the offspring, only to find that there is no market for them. Often, these pets, or their offspring, end up neglected, abandoned, or taking up valuable space and resources in Shelters.
MYTH: I don’t want my male dog or cat to feel like less of a male.
FACT: The reality is that this is more about you than your dog. Dogs do not have any concept of ego, masculinity or ego. Neutering your pet will not change his basic personality or give him some sort of identity crisis.
MYTH: It’s better to have one litter before spaying a female pet.
FACT: There is substantial medical research that indicates that the opposite is true. Pets spayed before their first heat are typically healthier and avoid many ailments related to their reproductive systems.
MYTH: It’s expensive to have a pet spayed or neutered.
FACT: While there may be costs to having the surgery performed, it can be minimal compared to the potential of long-term costs incurred by a non-altered pet, impound fees, and increased license fees. Each dog and cat adoption through the Regina Humane Society includes spay/neuter surgery. In addition, your new family member’s adoption includes vaccinations, identification tattoo, microchip and a post-adoption veterinary exam. This adds up to over $800 in value!
Simply put, spay and neutering our pets saves lives. By helping our own pets live healthier lives, and preventing unwanted pets suffering on the streets, it is one of the best and easiest means of creating a healthy and manageable pet population in Regina.
Each canine and feline pet adoption at the RHS includes spay or neuter surgery, so you never have to worry about additional costs or contributing to pet overpopulation. Our Subsidized Spay/Neuter Program helps ensure that financial constraints are not a barrier for those families who want to be a part of the solution. If you would like to learn more about the program, please visit our website, here.