Just One Litter!

We have a dog overpopulation crisis! Too many dogs for too few homes. There are many reasons for this sad fact, including accidental mating, purposeful breeding by those hoping to sell the puppies, and personal reasons such as “I want my children to experience the miracle of birth” and “I just don’t think it is natural to fix my dog.”

Simple arithmetic illustrates how “just one litter” contributes to our surplus of dogs. Two dogs mate: six puppies are born. The six offspring reproduce in a year, and are responsible for six more puppies each – a litter of six becomes 36. In ten years, just one unaltered dog can be responsible for more than 4,000 births.

Pet shops and puppy mills are major causes of dog overpopulation. Thousands of puppy mills are still operating, with Iowa rated as the second worst in the entire nation. Most of the puppies in these assembly line mills are housed in cramped, make-shift cages, often outdoors in freezing winter and blistering summer heat. They receive inadequate care in these horrendous places, and are shipped all over the country to pet stores that claim the pups come from home environments of responsible breeders. Not true! Statistics repeatedly confirm that almost all pet store dogs are products of puppy mills, and purchasing a purebred dog registered with the American Kennel Club does not guarantee a high quality animal. In fact, many AKC registered dogs are from puppy mills. (If you are unfamiliar with the horrors of puppy mills, please google “puppy mills.” You will be appalled at what you find!)

There is only one way to solve the overpopulation: we must not allow so many animals to be born. To do this, we must educate the public as to the value of altering our pets, and enforce leash laws, mandatory licensing, and other ordinances relating to animal caregivers. Until our legislators take action to clean up our puppy mill mess, our companion animals will suffer.

Just a few of the myths that we need to dispel:

  • It is a myth that it is cruel to alter an animal…the discomfort suffered from the surgery is small compared to the suffering and deaths caused by uncurbed breeding. Altering a pet also lessens the risk of diseases such as mammary and testicular cancer.
  • It is a myth that a female dog should have at least one litter before being spayed, or that spaying (or neutering a male dog) will “ruin a good dog.”
  • It is a myth that dogs show negative behavioral problems and “get fat” after sterilization. Dogs, just like humans, get fat because they eat too much or get too little exercise.
  • It is a myth that since males don’t give birth, they don’t need to be neutered. “It takes two to tango” and while a female has only one litter at a time, males can impregnate many females each day.
  • It is a myth that spaying or neutering is expensive. While the initial cost of the surgery may seem high, it’s a real bargain compared with the cost of raising a litter of puppies.

Thousands of homeless dogs offer this prayer:

“Dear God,

Please send us someone who will care. We’re tired of running; and sick with despair. Our bodies ache, so racked with pain, and nobody cares. We are outcasts, and with bodies aching, and rack with pain, we run from place to place. There are so many of us, and most of us are sick: wormy and ridden with fleas, tired and cold, afraid that we will never grow old. We often go days without food or even water. People chase us with sticks and hit us with stones. We are not bad dogs; we have become “victims of man.” Why were we born if no one wanted us? All we want is a human to love, so please ,God, if you find homes for us, we would try our best to please. We would be faithful and true to the last beat of our hearts. Don’t we deserve a chance at a good life?”

Bless the animals: they have no voice; they have no choice. It is humans’ responsibility to do what is best for our innocent four-legged friends.

Don’t do what is easy, do what is right!

Altering Your Pet Benefits You, Your Pet and Your Community

Responsible pet care givers understand the importance of spaying or neutering their companion animals. Spaying or neutering reduces or eliminates many serious health problems that can be painful and life threatening to your dog, and even if the treatment is successful, it is usually very expensive! Spaying your female dog greatly reduces her chances of developing breast cancer, and lowers the possibility of uterine and ovarian cancer and uterine infection, which are common occurrences in unaltered females. Neutering your male dog decreases the probability of testicular tumors and prostate problems, and also decreases the possibility of perianal tumors and hernias, which often develop in older, intact dogs. Neutering makes pets less likely to roam, run away, or get into fights, and they usually exhibit fewer behavior and temperament problems than those left intact.

Almost every community is faced with pet overpopulation as the result of accidental or poorly planned breeding. Consider the fact that the average number of litters a fertile dog can produce in one year is two, and the average number of animals in an average canine litter is six to ten. Theoretically in six years, one female dog and her offspring can produce more than 60,000 dogs. An 8-10 million animals are taken to shelters every year, and, unfortunately many of them are never adopted. Communities spend millions of dollars to control unwanted animals, and shelters are overburdened with surplus animals.

There are many excuses given for not altering a pet:

  • It is NOT true that this surgery will make your dog fat and lazy. Inactivity and overfeeding cause an animal to become fat!
  • It is also NOT true that neutering will “ruin a good dog.” There seems to be a male ego notion that neutering a dog is tied to a guy’s masculinity. Dogs don’t have any concept of sexual identity, and won’t suffer any kind of emotional reaction or identity crisis when neutered.
  • Another common excuse is, “We want the children to witness the birth.” There are countless books and videos available to teach your children about birth in a responsible manner. Chances are that the kids wouldn’t be around for the event anyway.
  • Then there is the idea that puppies can be sold to make money. Even legitimate breeders are fortunate to break even on litters, because the cost of properly raising a litter usually consumes most of the “profit.” Finding good homes for these puppies can be difficult and shelters are already crowded with unwanted dogs, and even if you find homes for your puppies that means that other dogs will be left homeless. Leave the breeding to professional dog breeders!

The only way to stop the heartrending reality of the companion animal overpopulation is through spaying and neutering your own pets and convincing others to do the same.  Don’t procrastinate until you are faced with “Oops…an unplanned litter of pups.”

My Time Is Up

It’s lonely here at the shelter… I get good food and care, and the humans try their best, but with each passing day, I get more depressed and lonely, and my friends here are crying for attention too. How I long for a family to love. Every day people say I am too big or too small, my hair is too long or too short, or my ears are too floppy. I don’t understand. Can’t I be loved just the way I am? I guess I’ll just stop getting up when people come in. I still wag my tail at friendly faces, but I think they see the tears in my eyes, so they hurry on past. Today they came to my cage saying that my time was up. My time is up! Does that mean someone is coming to love me? I wag my tail as they take me from my cage…

Every animal that is put down is heartbreaking…The TLC does NOT euthanize healthy dogs, but it is a necessary evil at shelters across the country…no one wants to put them down, but sometimes there is no choice. And the strays that wander, suffer, and starve to death, make it even more imperative that we take action to end the overpopulation of companion animals. Please be part of the solution and alter your pet. It is the right thing to do