Why you should spay or neuter your pet

By Joanna D. Samson, Vice President, FOTAS

Last year, 4800 animals passed through the door of the Aiken County Animal Shelter. 3000 of those animals were saved. 1800 did not leave the Shelter alive.

The vast majority of these animals did nothing wrong. They were victims of owners who brought them into this world and then washed their hands of them, leaving the rest of us to pay for their neglect.

And while 3000 is a record number of animals saved thanks to the efforts of the County and FOTAS, make no mistake: it is impossible to re-home all 4800 animals in a pet-saturated community like Aiken or in the communities served by our rescue partners in other parts of the country.

The only way to reduce the shockingly high number of animals consigned to the Shelter is for every Aiken County pet owner to spay and neuter their pets.

Plus, it’s good for your pet. In addition to lowering intake at the Shelter, your pet will live longer. Spayed or neutered animals have significantly less health problems.

Spayed or neutered animals also are less likely to roam, which means they are less likely to catch diseases from other animals, get lost, fight with other dogs, or get hit by a car (it has been estimated that 85% of dogs hit by cars are unaltered).

Spaying your female before she is 6 months of age means you can avoid the messy, noisy heat cycles that typically occur twice a year and that wreak havoc among the neighborhood’s male canine and feline populations.

Your cat or dog will be a better pet – spaying and neutering eliminates unpleasant spraying and marking.

Neutering your dog decreases potentially aggressive behavior to other animals and people – particularly children, who are by far the most frequent victims of dog bites.

Plus, it’s cheaper for the community as a whole. If everyone fixes their pets, it will dramatically reduce the number of homeless and abandoned animals that must be cared for with taxpayer’s dollars in the public shelter system.

By the way, if you are worried that spaying or neutering your dog will make him less protective, don’t be. Dogs are naturally protective by nature, particularly if you love and feed them.

Nor will altering you pet make it fat and lazy – only a bad diet and lack of exercise will do that.

Moreover, the cost to spay or neuter your pet has never been more affordable. Aiken County has a voucher program, supplemented by FOTAS, to provide low-cost spay/neuter services to residents who need financial assistance. The vouchers are distributed at the County Shelter at 333 Wire Road.

Make arrangements to spay or neuter your animal today. Convince your neighbors, friends and family to spay and neuter their pets, too. Call FOTAS Fix-a-Pet at 803-507-6315 if you have any questions or need help sorting out the details.

There are so many loving, deserving animals in the Shelter that need a home – why bring more animals into a world where their safety and care is so uncertain?

Their lives are in our hands.