Increasing opportunities for people to get pets altered by opening new programs and pressuring city officials to support pro-active ordinances that mandate spay/neuter is vital, but encouraging people to spay a pet before an accidental first litter is born is equally important.
Our nation has long had a love affair with "pets" or "companion animals" -- dogs, cats, rabbits and other cute critters. But while we seem to value our relationships with the animals that share our homes, we're fickle.
While neutering reduces suffering in general, it may well put your individual pet at greater risk of a serious disease such as cancer. It's a classic conflict between what is best for the individual versus what is best for society. Is there an alternative to routine de-sexing of pets?
Shifting our current practice from the collection and dispersal of homeless animals to preventing their births can stop the suffering and abate the need for building or expanding shelters. It can be done.
The lack of resources in poor communities is easily ignored, yet like other issues facing low-income communities, overlooking the impact of pet overpopulation has social, ethical and financial implications.
We often hear that "it takes a village to raise a child." I think you could say that it takes a village to raise a dog or cat, or any animal, too. We all have to be on the lookout for animals who are not being treated well.
The Pope may not have talked about animal birth control yet, but dogs and cats and PETA can't wait. The result of dogs and cats having unprotected sex -- a massive overpopulation crisis -- is as deadly for them as HIV is for humans.
Last month I featured a guest blog from Amanda Arrington, The Humane Society of the United States' manager of spay/neuter initiatives, spotlighting one of the pet health clinics that are part of our larger Gulf Coast initiative.