The leading cause of death for healthy dogs and cats in the United States is euthanasia in animal shelters. Some five million dogs and cats are killed in our nation’s shelters every year. (No Kill Advocacy Center)
Despite the dedicated efforts of our local animal shelters, many companion animals are euthanized because there are just not enough homes. In 2011, the state of North Carolina euthanized 52% of the dogs and 79% of the cats taken into our public animal shelters. (2011 FY Public Animal Shelter Report; *data is self-reported by public animal shelters in NC*)
“Expanding the accessibility and affordability of low-cost, high-volume spay and neuter programs is a critical step to increasing the neuter rate among both pet cats in lower income households as well as stray and feral cats.”
- Alley Cay Allies
Sterilization is the only non-lethal solution to decrease the number of stray, unwanted, and abandoned animals. Spay-neuter is a long-term means of gradually reducing shelter intake.
It costs taxpayers an estimated $100 for an animal control officer to pick up a stray dog or cat, transport the animal to the public-intake shelter, provide food, water, and care for the animal, euthanize the animal if not adopted, and dispose of the body. (Geoffrey Handy, Animal Control Management: A Guide for Local Governments, ANIMAL CONTROL MANAGEMENT (2001))
“Not only are proactive programs... cost effective, in the end they are our only hope to end pet overpopulation. Bitter experience has shown that we cannot adopt our way out of pet overpopulation or build our way out. A system that continues to spend upwards of 95% of its resources on reactive programs is doomed to failure and frustration.... Investing in proactive programs allows the increasing reallocation of resources to proactive programs, building momentum to the day when shelters will realize their century-long mission--to rescue and rehabilitate homeless animals and find a loving home for each and every one.”
Peter Marsh, Esq.
- National Canine Research Council
Communities that have provided funding for spay/neuter programs have experienced drastic declines in shelter euthanasia rates, and those declines equal taxpayer savings of over $3.00 for each $1.00 spent on the program. Stray Pet Advocacy
And, euthanasia for space in animal shelters is very unpopular with the general public. According to an Associated Press article (“Euthanasia to control shelter population unpopular”, January 2012, www.petside.com/no-kill-shelters), “seven in ten pet owners say they believe animal shelters should be allowed to euthanize animals only when they are too sick to be treated or too aggressive to be adopted.”
Spay/Neuter Programs are Cost-Effective
Lower stray pet/feral animal admission to shelters PLUS a lower euthanasia rate equals tax dollar savings.
Statistical evidence further supports the claim that better spay/neuter programs result in lower shelter intakes – and, ultimately, a better bottom line for taxpayers. A study conducted by Maddie‘s Fund found that high spay/neuter rates led to significant reductions in shelter intakes. FIREPAW, Cross-Program Statistical Analysis of Maddie’s Fund Programs (August 2004)
“It is widely known that in order to reduce the number of shelter animals euthanized due to lack of space, high-volume, low-cost spay/neuter must be available. This will quickly lead to fewer animals entering the shelter system, allowing more resources to be allocated toward saving lives.”
- The No Kill Equation, No Kill Advocacy Center
High-Volume, Low-Cost Spay/Neuter
Alley Cay Allies conducted a study, published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Association, on the neuter status of cats living in households in the United States. The study indicates that families who can afford to spay or neuter their cats are already doing so, and it is the low-income families who need help. The study showed that over 90% of cats living with families making over $35,000 per year had been spayed or neutered, whereas only 51% of cats living in (low-income) households with incomes under $35,000 a year had been spayed or neutered. And among lower income cat owners who responded to the study, cost was the most common reason cited for not neutering their pets.