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Pee-wee and his siblings were dumped in our 'burn pile'.  Luckily we found them before any harm was done.
Love is in the air. But all that ‘love’ makes for unwanted kittens and puppies.  It’s time to spay and neuter those pets, folks, and Trap, Neuter, and Release (TNR) those outside feral cats. 

It’s estimated that eleven out of twelve kittens born every year are unwanted. That horrible label, “unwanted”, means that many end up euthanized in shelters. In the spring, some shelters are so inundated with babies, kittens especially, that they are euthanized immediately upon intake as there is simply no room to accommodate them.  Their only crime is being born.
For domesticated cats, it’s as easy as contacting your vet. Many shelters and veterinarians offer low-cost spay and neuter programs or know a resource that provides them.  Spaying and neutering also cuts down on behavior-related issues in the home. Many unaltered males will begin spraying to mark their territory. Early intervention is critical to curb these before they get out of hand.
It’s a little more challenging for the feral outdoor ones.

Arguments have recently been against TNR programs for feral cat colonies. Those in opposition claim the animals are a threat to local wildlife, not only as hunters of prey, but also as potential disease carriers. Opponents also claim that it is a financial burden on neighborhoods and communities to TNR and care for the colonies.  Their solution is to euthanize the trapped animals, or to find a shelter that will socialize the cats and adopt them out. Easier said than done.  With cats having a lower survival rate at shelter than dogs, placement of ferals in homes is challenging and often difficult. Resources are often not available for such socialization programs, making the feasibility improbable, especially in rural areas like where we live.  
The argument for TNR programs is a little more clear: they stop the population from spreading.  By releasing/returning the animals to where they were found, it allows them to live out their lives, but controls the population and stops unnecessary pain and suffering for the new litters. Most animal rescue organizations support such efforts, and many communities have organizations that work with individuals and neighborhoods in these programs.  If you have a feral colony to control in your area, the best place to start, again, is with your vet. Many vets will offer assistance or find it for you. They, like you, want to see the animals free to live their lives.
But what of our beloved canines? Spay/neutering is highly recommended for your dogs. Many runaway animals are females in heat or males smelling females in heat.  That argument alone is enough to keep Rover from roaming! But there are also health benefits, especially in neutering. Many unaltered males end up with testicular cancer or other health issues. Fear of emasculating them by neutering should be greatly outweighed by the clear benefits.  In females not being used for breeding, it also cuts down on unnecessary anxiety and suffering. It’s one of the kindest things an owner can do. 

Help prevent unnecessary euthanasia! Be part of the solution and not part of the problem.  Spay or neuter your pet today.


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