In the rescue community we are always advocating for spay and neuter. I say it so much I feel like a broken record. We as rescuers spend much of our time trying to educate the public as to why you should spay or neuter. The big one for me, however, is lowering euthanasia numbers.
Most people will not understand why spaying or neutering will have such a great impact on lowering euthanasia numbers because they have not witnessed firsthand the never ending influx of animals that arrive at the shelter.
For example, when you see 10 animals enter and only 1 or 2 leave a day it shakes you up—at least it did for me. Its makes you become bitter. You see someone walking a dog down the street and you notice it’s an unfixed male and you want to run up and make a desperately plea to them to get him fixed.
I understand I can’t change everyone’s minds but this is a fight I will not give up on and I will not look away. I will continue to say what I believe in my heart to be the simplest and most proactive solution in this world of accidental litters and breeding for a few bucks.
It’s hard to sit here and watch the effects when puppies or kittens do not get sold or fall sick. People get rid of them and then proceed to have another litter because there pet is not spay or neutered.
If the public continues to breed or have that accidental litters then what is a shelter supposed to do? People are quick to blame the shelters for euthanizing homeless animals but what are they to do to end this aspect that is a community problem and not their own?
So what does my dog having a litter have anything to do with dogs in shelters getting euthanized? Well, you think all of the puppies will go to wonderful homes and you are responsible to ensure that happens.
Well according to DoSomething.org only 1 out of 10 free or cheap puppies will go to a permanent home, so at some point those once cute, small, funny pups will grow to be less desirable adult dogs with no training, no socializing and not vaccinated or fixed, because the family that you trusted just didn’t get around to it or have the time.
That cute little puppy may end up at the Shelter greeted by cold cement floor, separated from freedom by the sound of a metal door closing behind them, unruly and less desirable as an adult to the public that come in looking to adopt.
“Spay and neuter” I chant to myself every time I see the neighborhood dog roaming, “spay and neuter” I chant every time I see a Craigslist ad about a new “accidental litter”.
My goal when I started my rescue journey was to help these homeless dogs and cats find homes by photographing and marketing but slowly I realized if I only market the animals currently at the shelter and wait for the next wave I am not providing a solution for part of the problem. We have amazing programs out there like Furry Friends Food Relief, Bad Rap, Fix Our Ferals, Paw Fund and more in our community making changes every day through education.
They offer everything from low cost vaccinations, microchips and even free spay and neuter certificates to help ease the burden that our overcrowded shelters feel daily.
With all of this being said I am taken aback that even our shelters and rescues permit litters to be born under their care therefore undermining what most of us work so hard to prevent. If we are fighting an uphill battle within our community, that are for the most part under educated about spay and neuter it is infuriating that some of the very people we look up to in the rescue community that are supposed to be the voices for these animals allow littler after litter to be born in to their very rescues and shelters.
We don’t stand a chance at ever making an impact or difference in the numbers being euthanized.
I often feel very alone in my thoughts that we need to focus on the lives within the system and terminate pregnancies as soon as we as rescuers and shelter staff/volunteers have knowledge of a pregnant animal. It’s not a pretty thought but it’s a realistic one that promotes the survival of other animals in the system.
I just don’t think it’s fair when the public and lots of rescuers see a cute litter of puppies and have no hesitation to adopt or put them into their program whereas I know the truth about the 6 year old scruffy terrier in the back of the shelter who will be put to sleep never even being seen by the public, never being given the chance to live, and yet one day those little puppies will be 6 years old too, but they got snapped up in an instant, because they are puppies.
I recently asked a new start up rescue what their beliefs about fixing pregnant moms are and the woman very matter of fact said they will birth puppies and even went as far as to say, “Well, you know puppies are very easy to adopt out.”
Today I ask you, the public, what are your thoughts?
- Is it okay for rescues and shelters to allow puppies to be born into a system that is already overburdened with abandoned, senior, unwanted pets that are searching for homes?
- Should all rescues be holding themselves to the same standard? Should we not “rescue” the animals in need & relieve pregnant Moms of the burden of birthing nursing & then having to fight her own puppies to find a home?
- When does a rescue or shelter cross the line and become a puppy mill or back yard breeder? Is it fair that at some shelters hundreds of animals will never even be given the chance to be adopted because they will never be seen by the public?
These are lives that live and breathe in this moment who will never be afforded the opportunity to find a home yet these very same shelters will allow a pregnant mother to birth.
One life is no better than another, but consider this fact a puppy or kitten is more desirable than a dog or cat and by allowing them to be born into this world existing lives will be snuffed out in place of a guaranteed adoption.
This to me is not sheltering or rescuing. This to me is reckless and unethical.
Rescues and shelters should always do the right thing and not allow an animal to birth in their care. Rescues should do what they are designed to do and rescue from shelters to assist in lowering euthanasia numbers by pulling the ones that have less of a chance of being adopted via the shelter.
There shouldn’t be a promotion of creating new life that snuffs out another and shelters should do what they are designed to do and “shelter” the animals already in their care and provide a safe environment that aids to the medical needs of these animals whilst being completely transparent with the public and allowing complete access to every animal not deemed dangerous.
Spay and neuter. Save lives.
I hear what you’re saying about “spay and neuter” and I really do see where your heart is when it comes to these older dogs who will be euthanized because the rescuer wants the “cute puppy”, who will one day not be a cute puppy anymore and then may end up back at the shelter being euthanized — I really do understand your point. However, you are talking about the shelter being responsible for those lives already under its care and I have to point out that those puppies, while unborn, are alive and under the care of the shelter too! If they weren’t alive, you wouldn’t have to “terminate” them. Spay and Neuter is the answer, not abortion.
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