Spay and Neuter Your Pet-It’s the Right Thing to Do!

Broken Arrow is an animal loving community as evident in previous Citizen Crime Surveys dating back to 1998. Citizens were asked to rank their top ten concerns for our community and animal welfare was ranked the #2 priority in each survey, second to traffic problems. This animal connection spurred the building of the new animal shelter located at 4121 E. Omaha St. (51st St.).

Progressive communities across America are evolving from the antiquated philosophy of controlling the unwanted animal population by euthanasia, shifting toward ensuring the welfare of all animals by educating citizens regarding animal welfare, responsible pet ownership and encouraging rescue opportunities for all adoptable animals.

Hard facts that every Broken Arrow citizen should know: In 2015, 1019 dogs entered the BA shelter, 19% were euthanized, 624 cats entered and 44% were euthanized. This is an improvement over 2014 statistics where 25% of dogs and 63% of cats were euthanized. When communities take ownership in their shelters, positive changes are evident!

Host of the game show The Price is Right, Bob Barker, ended each show by reminding us to “help control the pet population, have your pet spay or neutered.” He could not have been more accurate. Broken Arrow citizens must spay and neuter their pets. Pet over-population is not an animal problem but a serious human problem. Basic animal ethology teaches that companion animals are hard wired to continue their particular species. This simply means that animals will continue to reproduce litters. Animals do not consciously ponder, “there are too many puppies or kittens without homes, or lack of resources or shelter.” Animals are simply driven with the need to reproduce. One unaltered cat may produce 4-6 kittens in each litter and can have 3-4 litters per year until age 7. This cycle begins at 6-9 months of age. One unaltered dog may produce 6-10 puppies and may have a couple of litters, or more per year, beginning at 5 months. Broken Arrow citizens must intervene to stop this cycle. Humans have the intellectual capacity to help our companion species control their populations. After all, historically, humans domesticated our dogs and cats by feeding, providing shelter and attention, which encouraged them to become our companions and family members.

There are several substantial reasons to “fix” your pet according to the AVMA and the ASPCA: In females, spaying prevents uterine infections and breast cancer, which is fatal in 50% of dogs and 90% of cats. When females are in heat, they will howl, urinate and anything else they can do to advertise. In males, neutering decreases the risk of certain cancers and the need to roam looking for a mate. They will bark, dig, climb and mark their territories with a strong, foul smelling urine. Roaming males will often kill wildlife and interfere with traffic, posing danger to themselves and drivers. Aggressive behaviors in male companion animals may be avoided by early neutering. Altering our animals will not make them fat. This is a myth. Obesity is due to overeating and lack of exercise.

Altering is highly cost effective as BA citizens spend thousands of tax dollars each year for housing care and euthanasia of homeless, yet adoptable pets (mostly cats). These tax dollars could be used to offer low cost or free spay and neuter procedures, vaccinations, veterinary care and educational programs for the community benefiting all BA pet owners. Contact your local veterinarian to have your pet altered or Spay Oklahoma offers reduced cost procedures. Spay and neutering your pet significantly reduces pet overpopulation. It is the right thing to do for your pet and community.

Consider engaging in the evolution of our shelter by becoming a volunteer, foster family, contributing financially and above all, be a responsible pet owner.

In closing, let’s all help control the Broken Arrow pet population, SPAY and NEUTER your pets. (Thank you Mr. Bob Barker for your words of wisdom)!

Karen Dugan Holman B.S., B.S.E., M.S.
karen@animalbehaviorok.com

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