Home neutering is a disturbing, dangerous and illegal trend in domestic animal care that has to stop, according to the SPCA and PETA.
In Canada, the Saskatchewan Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) is speaking out about the problem after a recent spate of cases in which pets were neutered using elastic bands.
"This is not an acceptable practice in dogs," Kaley Pugh, the society's manager of protection services, told CBC News. "They really do suffer a lot when you do this to them."
In the examples cited by the SPCA, the dogs in question suffered horrible injuries after the "the forced strangulation of their testicles."
While the practice is common among livestock animals, Pugh said it is incredibly cruel when used on dogs, which often lick and bite the tissue and can cause self-mutilation and infection.
"I wouldn't even call it neutering. It's torture; it's absolutely torture," Daphna Nachminovitch, senior vice-president of PETA's Cruelty Investigations Department, told the Huffington Post.
Several reported cases in the United States have been met with shock and anger from pet owners who don't understand what would prompt the practice.
In April, KTVQ reported on the case of Rocky, a lab/pit bull mix who needed surgery after he was left at a veterinary clinic in Billings, Mont., with mysterious profuse bleeding.
During the dog's emergency operation, shelter employees were shocked to discover the source of the bleed.
"It initially looked like somebody had surgically removed the testicles on that dog themselves," said Chris Anderson, executive director of the Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter. "As we started to do more surgery, we realized that we probably... we found a rubber band... and that maybe they had actually tried to band the testicles on an adult male dog. And the dog, literally, chewed it's testicles off."
KTVQ hypothesized that money might have been the motivating factor behind the home job -- the procedure usually costs between $150-200 -- but Anderson said that's not an excuse.
"It's needless, you don't have to do that," he said. "Here in Billings there are several different clinics available. They're low cost spay and neuter clinics for people who can't afford to get into a vet."
PETA's Nachminovitch agreed. "Both in the U.S. and in Canada there are low cost spay and neuter programs and low subsidies," she said. "I think this is sheer ignorance and laziness." (The ASPCA has links for these programs on its website.)
The practice is also against the law, as the owners of a golden retriever puppy found out this spring. In April, police pressed charges after the owners from Severn, Md., allegedly tried to neuter the dog using a rubber band, Patch reported at the time.
"I want people to understand that this is illegal," Nachminovitch stressed to HuffPost. "And to make sure there are no copycat cases."
To that end, PETA said it will offer up to a $5,000 reward leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone who attempts the practice, she said.