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Spaying, neutering may alleviate crowding problems at shelter

June 10, 2002

The large number of kittens at the Humane Society of Washington County would be less of a problem if more owners spayed or neutered their cats, said Maria Procopio, executive director of the shelter.

Owners should have the surgery done before the cats are 5 months old.

In 2001, participants in the Washington County Spay and Neuter Assistance Program spayed or neutered 550 cats, Procopio said.

The shelter hears a variety of reasons for not spaying or neutering but she does not think any of them are good ones.

Procopio listed some reasons she has heard given and her response:

-- To those who say, "I want my children to witness the miracle of birth," she says, "Rent a video."

-- To those who say, "My pet is so cute and a champion, there should be more of him/her," she said, "Our shelter is full of cute pets, so is our euthanasia list."

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-- To those who say they can't afford it, she said the shelter can help through its financial assistance program.

-- To those who say, "It's not natural" she said, "It's even less natural to die because no one wants you."

-- "A female dog or cat should have at least one litter for health reasons," some say. She says, "Medically, factually and ethically wrong. In fact, many health problems can be prevented with spay/neuter surgery."

-- "Spaying/neutering my dog will make her/him fat and lazy," some say. She replies: "Too much food, not enough exercise makes a pet fat and lazy."

-- "Fixing my pet will change its personality," some say. She replies: "The primary influences on an animal's personality are the kindness and care with which it is raised."

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