Decision on neutering should be based on facts

August 24, 2004

Dear Editor:

Many misconceptions about neutering of companion animals have been voiced in the past few weeks as Boyle Fiscal Court prepares to pass a licensing fee for pets.

We'd like to present the facts here. Anyone who doubts them is encouraged to contact his or her veterinarian for verification. Choosing whether or not to neuter your pet is the owner's decision to make. But please make it based on facts, not myths, which include the following:

* "Nature intended for cats and dogs to breed. We shouldn't tamper with that." Throughout the ages, humans have had a hand in the development of canines and felines. Breeders selectively breed these animals to achieve specific characteristics. There is nothing "natural" about leaving domestic cats and dogs to fend for themselves. They depend on people to feed and care for them. The population explosion of these animals is a problem we humans created; therefore, we're responsible for solving it.


* "Neutering will change my pet's personality." That's simply not the case. Neutering curbs a male animal's need to wander in search of females. That is the only aspect of his "personality" it changes.

* "My pet will get fat and lazy." An animal's weight and energy level are overwhelmingly dictated by diet and exercise, not by their sex hormones. If you're concerned about your pet's health, consider the fact that spaying or neutering eliminates or nearly eliminates uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, testicular cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer in dogs and cats

* "It's better to have one litter first." There is no medical evidence that having a litter is good for your pet. In fact, the evidence indicates that there are health benefits for both males and females that are neutered before sexual maturity. Spay/neuter surgery can be performed safely on animals as young as eight weeks of age. Your veterinarian will let you know whether there are any medical reasons that surgery should not be performed on your pet.

* "But my pet is purebred." So are at least one-fourth of the animals brought to shelters around the country. There are just too many dogs and cats, both mixed breed and purebred.

* "I'll find good homes for all the puppies and kittens." Even if you do find homes, within six months, the majority of each litter will be reproducing - and the cycle continues.

* "I want my dog to be protective." Spaying or neutering does not affect a dog's natural instincts to protect its home and family.

* "My children should experience the miracle of birth." The lesson your children will learn, if, indeed they should actually witness the birth, is that animals can be created and discarded as it suits adults. Instead, explain to your children that preventing births of some pets can save the lives of others.

* "I want another pet just like my dog or cat." The chances of an offspring being a carbon copy of your pet are slim. Professional animal breeders who follow generations of bloodlines can't guarantee they will get just what they want from a particular litter. A pet owner's chances are even slimmer.

Consider these facts and do the right thing for your pet and community: Neuter your pet.

The Danville-Boyle County Humane Society Board of Directors

Michael Hamm, president; Sallie Bright, outreach coordinator; Dr. Alan Ross, veterinary advisor; Becky Barrick; Barbara Beaney; J.T. Goggans; Rick Holmes; Sue Jackson; Harold McKinney; Jami Powell; Kitty Rosel; Linda Taylor; Katie Turbyfill; and Vicki Walker


Central Kentucky News Articles