Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Reflections on Spay Day

Spay and neuter, spay and neuter, spay and neuter --- we who are big supporters of animal welfare feel like we use that phrase so much that surely there can't be a person left who hasn't heard all of the reasons that spaying and neutering are the right, moral and responsible thing to do if you choose to bring a pet into your home. Yet, reflecting on the numbers we put up here in Kern County, there are clearly a number of people who have yet to get the memo.

18,811. That's how many pets were euthanized at our county shelters in 2009. That's nearly 52 dogs and cats for every day of the calendar year meeting their early death at the end of a needle. Over two per hour. Can you even begin to conceptualize a world where a little more frequently than twice an hour you had to walk through rows of cats and dogs --- some withdrawn, some angry, but most either afraid or, maybe even worse, happy --- and pick the individual lives that you were ending? And know that you'd have to it over, and over, and over, knowing that the next day, the next week, the next month there was only more of the same? 52 a day.

There's only one way out. For the pets and for the people who work to stem to tsunami-like waves of the unwanted, unloved, unhomed. We have got to reduce the number of pets born here. The fastest road to avoid euthanizing homeless pets is to start by creating a whole lot fewer of them.

Spay and neuter. Spay and neuter. Spay and neuter. Support the people who do it and the groups who help subsidize it. Shop at businesses who contribute to the solution and proudly show their support for companion animals. Lives depend on it.

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