Think you know all the facts on pet overpopulation?

kittens group

The most important thing to know about spaying and neutering is that it saves lives. In every community in every U.S. state, there are animals sitting in animal shelters waiting for homes. Only about half of those dogs and cats will ever get one. The other half will be euthanized.

Making the decision to spay or neuter your pet means fewer pets—pets as sweet, loving, healthy, and deserving of companionship as your own—will be euthanized for lack of a home.

But just in case you need more information before making this important decision, here is the truth behind some commonly spread myths about spaying and neutering.

MYTH: It's better to have one litter before spaying a female pet.
FACT: Every litter counts.

Stopping pet overpopulation starts with you!

  • istockphoto

  • Feral cats are victims of overpopulation

The decision to spay or neuter your pet is an important one for pet owners.

Pets are homeless everywhere

In every community, in every state, there are homeless animals. In the U.S., there are an estimated 6–8 million homeless animals entering animal shelters every year. About half of these animals are adopted. Tragically, the other half are euthanized. These are healthy, sweet pets who would have made great companions.

The number of homeless animals varies by state—in some states there are as many as 300,000 homeless animals euthanized in animal shelters every year. These are not the offspring of homeless "street" animals—these are the puppies and kittens of cherished family pets and even purebreds.

Many people are surprised to learn that nationwide more than 3 million cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters. Spay/neuter is the only permanent, 100 percent effective method of birth control for dogs and cats.

 

Number of cats and dogs entering shelters each year

6-8 million

 

Number of cats and dogs euthanized by shelters each year

 

3-4 million

 

Number of cats and dogs adopted from shelters each year

 

3-4 million

 

Number of dogs reclaimed by owners from shelters each year

 

30%

 

Number of cats reclaimed by owners from shelters each year

 

2-5 %

 

Number of animal shelters in the United States

 

3,500

 

Percent of dogs in shelters who are purebred

 

25%

Unless otherwise indicated, statistics provided by The National Council on Pet Population, Study and Policy.

The HSUS Pet Overpopulation Page/ has links to all the stats, facts and figures, World Spay Day, thePets for Life Program, plus info on where you can find low-cost spay/neuter.

Courtesy of The Humane Society of the United States

1. You'll save a life

Sadly, between 3 and 4 million dogs and cats are euthanized each year in the United States simply because too many people give up their pets and too few people adopt from shelters. Because there is limited space at shelters, staff members sometimes need to make very hard decisions to euthanize animals who haven't been adopted.

 The number of euthanized animals could be reduced dramatically if more people adopted pets instead of buying them. By adopting from a private humane society or animal shelter, breed rescue group, or the local animal control agency, you'll help save the lives of two animals—the pet you adopt and a homeless animal somewhere who can be rescued because of space you helped free up.