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Fri, Feb. 28

Spaying, neutering prevents thousands of deaths

The Verde Valley Humane Socierty “Pet of the Week” is “Quasi.”  He is a young lab mix with tons of personality. He’s so sweet and so eager to get a new home.  Quasi wants to run in a yard and lick someone’s face every day. Quasi may never get very large, but his heart is huge.  His adoption fee has been discounted by $20 thanks to some true “animal angels.”

The Verde Valley Humane Socierty “Pet of the Week” is “Quasi.” He is a young lab mix with tons of personality. He’s so sweet and so eager to get a new home. Quasi wants to run in a yard and lick someone’s face every day. Quasi may never get very large, but his heart is huge. His adoption fee has been discounted by $20 thanks to some true “animal angels.”

What better way to start the New Year than talking about spaying and neutering your pets? I know that you have heard it repeatedly, but it's time to take another look at why it needs to be done.

Please keep reading, even if you have done your part and had your animals spayed or neutered, maybe you can help a friend or neighbor with this information.

When spaying or neutering is spoken about, sometimes I wonder if everyone knows exactly what it means. In case there is any doubt in your mind as to what is done during the procedure, I'll give you a couple of facts.

Female animals are spayed, which means that their ovaries, fallopian tubes are uterus are removed by a veterinarian. The more complex name for the procedure is an "ovariohysterectomy."

Male animals are neutered. When an animal is neutered it means the testicles are removed. The more complex name for this surgery is called an "orchiectomy." At times it is simply called castration.

Just so you know, when a male animal arrives home after the surgery you will still see the testicular sac. It will atrophy in time. I wanted to mention this, because I have received many calls on this subject.

First I would like to tell you that VVHS is bringing back Plateauland Low Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic on January 22nd. The response in the community was exceptional. We are very pleased that so many of you took advantage of the special pricing at our last clinics. It's all about getting as many animals possible fixed to help with the animal overpopulation in this world.

Did you realize that each time we sponsor a Clinic, between 22 and 26 animals are spayed or neutered? This means that if each animal had the opportunity to reproduce and each one only had four offspring, we prevented at a minimum 88 births.

As an owner in order to take advantage of this special Clinic, the only requirement we have is for you to stop into the shelter located at 1502 W. Mingus and fill out an application for assistance. Stop in soon as the Clinics fill up rapidly.

If you fall within our guidelines we will be happy to assist financially in the sterilization of your animal. Please share this information with your family, friends and loved ones.

The Clinic will provide low cost spaying and neutering for the animal population living in Yavapai County, Cottonwood, Clarkdale, Jerome and the Yavapai Apache Nation at reduced rates.

Camp Verde is having a separate clinic for everyone living in Camp Verde. It would be best to give them a call about their procedures as they may differ from ours. The phone number for the Camp Verde shelter is (928) 567-7855.

VVHS will help up to two animals per family get spayed or neutered and receive a rabies vaccine. The cost to those who qualify will be $30.00 per animal.

All animals coming in for surgery must have a current rabies vaccine. If your animal has already been vaccinated please make sure that you bring the vet paperwork when you come in to fill out the form for assistance.

All animals having proof of a current rabies vaccine will be spayed or neutered for $25. Thanks to generous donations, VVHS will be subsidizing the remainder of all surgeries.

If any other charges occur, they will be at the expense of the owner. Please see our website at vvhs.net if you need any further information.

The facts about pets being taken to animal shelters that don't find homes are horrifying. Staff members also know that the shelter may be at max capacity at any moment. Each of us lives with knowing that it can happen at any given moment.

One study states that three to four million dogs and cats are euthanized each year due to the lack of homes to adopt them. A study completed by "United Hope for Animals" states as many as 15 million. The supply no where meets the demand.

If not being able to reproduce isn't a good enough reason to have your animal spayed or neutered, do it for your animal's health well being. A few of the health reasons for having the procedure done include:

• Decreases the occurrence of prostate disease in males.

• Eliminates the chance of testicular cancer in males.

• Reduces the incidence of mammary cancer in females.

• Eliminates uterine infections in females.

• Spaying and neutering helps dogs and cats live longer and healthier lives.

Did you realize that spaying or neutering your pets is also good for you? Some of the benefits that we don't even realize include the following:

• Neutered cats are less apt to spray.

• Spaying eliminates the heat cycle in a female cat or dog. If you've ever owned a female you know how annoying a heat cycle can be.

• Spaying or neutering can lessen the chance of your animal biting someone and can also reduce the desire to fight.

• Your pet will more than likely be more affectionate.

• Pets are less likely to roam the neighborhood.

When I speak about the amount of offspring animals can produce, maybe it's easier to understand the importance of having the surgery preformed.

According to the SPCA just one unspayed feline friend and her offspring can produce 420,000 kittens in just seven years.

In a six-year period, one unspayed canine friend and her offspring can produce 67,000 puppies.

It's hard for us to even relate with those figures, but it shows the magnitude of the problem. How can there possibly be enough homes in the world for all of the animals if that's what just one dog and one cat can produce?

Those figures make it much easier to understand why shelters all over the United States simply don't have enough room for all the animals.

Until everyone takes this crisis seriously, the euthanization problems will continue in shelters everywhere. It means that healthy, adoptable animals will have to be put to sleep due to a lack of space and adopters.

I'd like to share just a few "myths and truths" with you at this time. Some are so near and dear to my heart as you can only imagine.

Myth: If I let my pet have just one litter of offspring, I will find each of them a good home and then have my animal surgically altered.

Truth: Just because you find homes for all of the babies doesn't mean that you have helped with the overpopulation problem in the U.S. If just one of those offspring don't also get spayed or neutered think about how many animals can be produced. Each time an animal has a litter and a home is found, that is just one less animal in a shelter that will get a new home.

Myth: The miracle of birth is something I want my children to see.

Truth: For all of you that know me, you already know this is one of my largest pet peeves. Most often an animal goes off to be alone to give birth and the child will never see it happen anyways. Get a fish if this is something you feel your child just has to see. Like I have said in previous columns, a Black Molly will provide a live birth for all to see. Another way to let your children see this is to rent a video. Anything is better than letting an animal get pregnant for this reason.

Myth: My dog won't be a good watch dog if I get him or her fixed.

Truth: If your animal was a good watch dog, the same will be true after the surgery.

Myth: The surgery is too expensive.

Truth: There are many programs that will help with the cost of spaying or neutering. Do your homework, many shelters and agencies offer occasional low cost spay/neuter clinics.

Myth: You have many very good reasons why you can't get your animals spayed or neutered.

Truth: I have just as many very good reasons why you should get your animals spayed or neutered.

This is not a subject that anyone involved in animal care takes lightly. Do your research, take advantage of special offers and please get your pets spayed or neutered.

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