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To the Editor:
Did you know that one unaltered female cat and her offspring can produce over 370,000 more cats in seven years? Because the majority of kittens born in a litter are female, and those kittens can come into heat as early as four months of age and a male kitten can start breeding as early as four months old! Did you know a cat can have at least five litters in a year’s time and the average number of kittens born in a litter is four?

Did you know just one unaltered female dog and her offspring can produce 67,000 puppies in only six years. The majority of puppies born in a single litter are female. And, those female puppies can come into heat as early as four months of age and the males can start breeding as early as four months old! The average number of puppies born in a litter for medium to large is seven. But what if the female has twelve or more? Do the math—-the figures are staggering!

If you want your children to see puppies or kittens born, consider this: Every year, three to four million animals are killed in U.S. animal shelters, most simply because of a lack of good homes. Bringing more animals into a world that is already short of homes means that animals in animal shelters will die, not for lack of homes to go to, but simply from excessive breeding and overpopulation! The single most important thing that we can do to save cats and dogs from all the suffering and death that their overpopulation causes is to spay and neuter them. Spaying and neutering are routine, affordable surgeries that can prevent thousands of animals from being born, only to suffer and struggle to survive on the streets or in the rural country, hit by vehicles, be abused by cruel or neglectful people, or be euthanized in animal shelters for lack of a loving home. Animal shelters are overwhelmed with animals. Spaying and neutering makes a big difference.

Myth- My cat or dog will get fat and lazy if I have it spayed or neutered.

Fact - The cat or dog will become fat by overfeeding and lack of exercise, not altering.

Myth- My dog will not protect its family if spayed or neutered.

Fact - Spaying and neutering will only reduce or eliminate the behaviors that you don’t want, such as aggression and urine marking. Neutered males are less likely to roam, fight, or mark their territory with urine, and spayed females experience less hormone-related moodiness. In exchange, your companions will likely become more interested in you (rather than finding a mate) and will still protect your family and be good watchdogs!

From the American Humane Association on Pet Overpopulation: Quote: While acquiring a puppy, kitten or adult animal from a friend, neighbor or an Internet ad might seem innocent enough, in reality you are contributing to the pet overpopulation problem by creating demand for irresponsible breeding or enabling owners to have a convenient, guilt-free and often profitable outlet for disposing of unwanted pets. In many cases, these people will go on to become repeat offenders, engaging in a continuous cycle of irresponsible breeding or pet acquisition and disposal because they know they can easily find a new home for the animal (s).The majority of pets acquired this way are not spayed or neutered, which also perpetuates the cycle of overpopulation. The only way to break this cycle is to choose not to participate in it.

What you can do to combat pet overpopulation:
1. Always spay and neuter your pets, especially at an early age, before they come into heat. This surgery is performed only once, and not each year! Spaying your female companion animal before her first heat cycle means she will have one-seventh the risk of developing mammary cancer. Spaying also eliminates the female animals’ risk of diseases and cancers of the ovaries and uterus, which are often life-threatening and require expensive surgery and treatment.

2. Male animals contribute to the companion animal overpopulation even more than females do. Just one unsterilized male animal can impregnate dozens of females, creating dozens upon dozens of unwanted offspring. Neutering also eliminates male animals’ risk of testicular cancer and reduces unwanted behaviors such as biting.

3. Always adopt your pets from a legitimate shelter or nonprofit rescue group.

4. Consider all the responsibilities and consequences of pet ownership before deciding to get a pet and always make a lifetime commitment to your pet.

5. Educate your children, friends, family members and co-workers about pet overpopulation, adoption and the importance of spaying and neutering.

Choosing Not to Adopt
It is a common myth that pet overpopulation means there are “not enough” homes for all the shelter animals. In reality, there are more than enough homes, but not enough people are choosing to adopt from a shelter. Seventeen million Americans acquire a new pet each year — that is more than double the number of shelter animals! Sadly, only 3.5 million people, or about 20 percent, choose to adopt their new pet. The rest choose to buy their pets from pet stores or breeders, or they choose a variety of other cheap or free sources, such as friends, neighbors or Internet ads, yard sales, flea markets, or in the parking lot of a local business. Ninety precent of dogs, cats, puppies and kittens adopted this way end up discarded or left somewhere to fend for themselves!

Virtually all puppies sold at pet stores come from puppy mills, where dogs live miserably in tiny cages with little or no opportunity to exercise, play or socialize. Although there are many responsible breeders, there are far more irresponsible ones who are breeding for profit without regard for good health and temperament or the pet overpopulation problem. Unquote.

There are many available spay and neuter programs to help with the one-time cost of this surgical procedure within and surrounding Carroll County, Ohio.
1. One of a kind Pet Rescue - Akron, Ohio - 330-865-6890
2. Animal Protection Guild - Canton, Ohio - 330- 649-0443
3. Second Chance for Animals - Canton, Ohio -330-649-0443
4. Carroll County Humane Society - 330-627-3044

The Carroll County Animal Protection League is still striving to build our no-kill animal shelter for Carroll County on our property located on St. Rt. 43, between Carrollton and Malvern.  Our facility will create a haven for unwanted and relinquished animals once built, and the animals available for adoption will hopefully find loving, caring homes. But, we also realize that having an animal shelter will not eliminate the overpopulation of companion animals, because spaying and neutering companion animals is the only solution. Please do so, and be a responsible pet owner to save lives!

Eileen Rohrer, President
Carroll County Animal Protection League
Carrollton, OH

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