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Why would one have reason to sterilize a perfectly healthy pet that is contained within a home or fenced yard? Don't you realize it takes the "manhood" away from a male animal when you have him neutered? Don't all female pets get "fat" when spayed? Here are a few FACTS we should share with the community, our friends and neighbors regarding this issue.

Early sterilization has been proven safe and effective in animals as early as eight weeks.If the animal is in good health and size, it is actually easier and safer to perform surgery at this age. The animals bounce back quicker and there is less likelihood of complications due to bleeding and infection. While there remains a difference of opinion among veterinarians, more and more are leaning toward the practice due to ongoing education and statistics.

Sterilization does much more than prevent populating the community with more animals. Studies have proven that females who are sterilized before their first heat are less likely to develop mammary gland, breast and uterine cancers. Neutered males have fewer incidences of both testicular and prostate cancers. Also, unaltered male cats can stain your floors and furniture year round and it smells terrible. If neutered early, male cats rarely develop this habit. Older sprayers usually stop within a few months of being neutered.

Because people have domesticated cats and dogs, they naturally take to, and need us. If left unaltered, natural affection gets overpowered by the drive to reproduce. This urge leads to roaming, fighting, aggression, excessive barking, howling and a host of unwelcome behaviors. If you have more than one pet, altered animals get along much better with each other.

Last year, over 15 million cats and dogs were killed in animal shelters in the U.S. This does not include the many pets that were thrown out of cars, left by the side of the road, or dropped in woods and fields.

Here are some examples of the myths that perpetuate this destruction followed by the actual facts:

Myth: It's better to allow your female to have one litter, or heat, before spaying:

Spaying at a young age prevents the cancers mentioned above.

For every litter brought into the world, a litter at a pound is euthanized.

Spaying eliminates unwanted males from harassing your pet.

Myth: Preventing pets from having litters is unnatural:

By domesticating cats and dogs, we have interfered with nature. It's our responsibility to solve the problem we created. (Is it natural to be killing so many in pounds and shelters each year?)

Myth: Pets become fat and lazy after being spayed or neutered:

We overfeed and under exercise our pets today. The operations do not cause the problem.

Myth: A pet's behavior changes after surgery:

You bet it does. Male cats stop spraying. Males fight less resulting in fewer contagious diseases, abscesses and vet bills. Animals don't wander and risk getting hit by cars. And if your dog was a good watchdog before surgery, it will be a good watchdog after surgery.

Myth: It costs too much money:

Folks, there's a lot of financial assistance for those who need it. ACT Now has both low and no cost programs.
ACT Now has a very busy Education Committee working diligently to provide information to children in the classroom. We currently have programs for K-6 grade classes. We explain what being a responsible pet owner entails, as well as the need for sterilization. It is conducted by volunteers in a manner that children understand, because most of the volunteers are parents themselves. Our Spay/Neuter Program has reached out to over 50 low-income families in the past 6 months to provide no-cost surgeries and many low cost surgeries have been performed.

Please don't add to the fatal population explosion. No one wants to think about healthy, beautiful, affectionate cats, dogs, puppies and kittens losing their lives because no one wants them. The volume of pets entering shelters and pounds greatly outnumbers the families looking to adopt. Euthanasia protects the unwanted from the pain of a life without companionship and care. The better solution is to limit the number of animals being born until they equal the number of people who want and can care for them. Please contact your vet or ACT Now to get your pet sterilized. / Issue 172 - September 6960
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