Spaying and Neutering

Rarely does one nod ones head in approval at the thought of surgically removing dogs or cats testicles. Removing the ovaries and uterus remains similarly unheralded except for when we clarify that we mean to chip away at the sexual organs of animals all for the sake of the expensive oriental rug that runs across the living room floor as luxuriously as a furry Fido or a purring Princess.

Indeed in the back of our neighbors judgmental minds lurks the suspicion that we pet owners aim to spay our female animals or neuter our male creatures because of selfish human reasons. After all, not only may a female dog in heat ruin a rug, but also an intact dog is reportedly a threat to small children in the house.

Granted, sparing one’s children is hardly deemed a selfish human desire, yet we still dismiss the fact that “the age of three is prime time for an intact male dog to be involved with a terrible tragedy, such as … killing children” when we admit that “obviously, not all intact male dogs are aggressive child-killers” (Davis). In a fit of projection, we humans tend to personalize the medical matter of spaying and neutering, as if our own reproductive organs – let alone sex life and hunting skills – were on the line. But research shows that expert after expert believes that it is for the sake of the animal that we allow and perform these surgical procedures. Indeed, keeping an animal intact may be more selfish, for people who want to breed dogs or cats for show are typically those who oppose state-mandated neutering programs, which – together with educational programs—have been responsible for the fact that about 75 percent of dogs and cats have been neutered or spayed (Woolf).

With mostly competitive breeders and other extremists policing the privates of animals to keep them intact, a second look at the more humane reasons for these surgical procedures is certainly warranted. As the research shows, spaying and neutering are the single most effective methods of not only easing the strain on overpopulated shelters, but also for keeping cats and dogs healthy and safe.

Overpopulation of cats and dogs lead to a burden on society. Animals reproduce at extremely high rates and may give birth to a large litter of newborns.

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