Guest Blogger Guinn Mcmillion, Pethealth, Inc.
I grew up on a horse farm in Massachusetts, where we had many barn cats. Some were dumped, knowing my family would care for them but most arrived because there was always at least one pregnant cat roaming around. Pawning them off on people who boarded their horses with us was usually pretty easy. Needless to say, in the early 80’s, spaying and neutering wasn’t at the top of mind. We continued this routine until one memorable evening when our veterinarian neutered every male cat on our property right on our kitchen table while my parents assisted. It was only then that we were able to slow down and eventually put an end to our makeshift “adoption program”.
Since then, altering companion animals has been a priority among the animal welfare industry and has helped to save hundreds of thousands of lives. Today, altering pets before they are adopted has been a long standard practice.
Did you know, in the state of Florida, 22% of companion animals entering the shelter are already altered and only 64% of animals leaving the shelter are altered before they go. (this number excludes animals euthanized). The Florida numbers are consistent with the national average as well. When looking at the animals being adopted, only 79.6% are spayed or neutered prior. I was surprised and thought that percentage would be higher. How do we get closer to 100%?
Should we offer spay/neuter services to folks reclaiming their pets? Should all pets being transferred be altered before the trip? Whatever the solution may be, we must carry on recording our data and analyzing it frequently. This will allow us to continue to make informed decisions to save more lives in Florida and across the country.
Guinn Mcmillion is the Senior Director of Client Services with Pethealth, Inc, a Fairfax Company.