Today, February 23, 2010 is Spay Day USA. Historically, the last Tuesday of February is designated as
Spay Day every year. The program was started in 1995 by the Doris Day Animal Foundation as the first and only international day of action promoting the spaying or neutering of pets. In 2006, the Doris Day Animal League combined operations with those of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and since then HSUS has been the organizer of the event. During Spay Day, animal welfare organizations, animal shelters and humane societies, veterinarians and their staff, business owners and citizens join forces around the nation and the world to provide spay/neuter services and to promote spay/neuter as a humane means to decreasing the euthanasia of homeless animals in shelters.
Each year millions of homeless animals are euthanized in shelters. Often these are the offspring of beloved family pets, including purebreds. In some cases, they are an intentional litter so the kids could witness the miracle of birth just once. In others, it was the accidental litter bred after the one and only time a pet got out while in heat. Unfortunately, more times than not the availability of good homes for those puppies and kittens falls short. Spay/neuter is a 100% effective form of birth control and a proven method of reducing the number of animals who die prematurely without a family to love them. The additional health benefits for the dog or cat being sterilized include the prevention of certain cancers, infections and sexually transmitted diseases. There are many good reasons to spay or neuter and no good reason not to have it done.
I joined the Richmond SPCA in November of 2004 as we were taking on our pledge to perform 9,000 sterilizations annually over a period of three years. This goal was critical as we worked toward decreasing the number of homeless pets in our community by achieving a number of available homes equal to that number of homeless pets. We have exceeded that original number every year since it was set and performed more than 14,000 sterilizations in 2009. By making spay/neuter affordable – and in many cases free – we are making a huge impact on the ability of homeless dogs and cats in our community to find permanent, loving families.
So we join all the others today in celebrating Spay Day and challenge everyone to help us realize our goal that no homeless pet would be euthanized for lack of shelter space or a loving home. If you have already done your part by having all of your pets spayed and neutered, you can still spread the word about our free and low-cost spay and neuter services by telling five of your friends. You can also help the cause by donating your Facebook status by writing "I'm helping out homeless pets today by donating my status to the Richmond SPCA's free and low-cost Spay/Neuter Clinic. To learn more or book an appointment, visit www.richmondspca.org/clinic or call 804-521-1300."
Sterilization is just one of the key components of the programs that we have initiated to tackle the problem of pet overpopulation. Education, adoption, rehabilitation and sterilization are the tools that the Richmond SPCA utilizes to aggressively deal with the senseless killing of companion animals, everyday.
Dr. Angela Ivey is the director of veterinary services at the Richmond SPCA. To read her complete biography, or that of our other bloggers, please click here.