By Michael Markarian
Tuesday marks the 16th annual Spay Day, and all throughout February humane organizations, veterinarians and animal advocates are holding events to promote spaying and neutering of dogs and cats. There’s still time to enter your pet or vote for others in the Spay Day Online Pet Photo Contest this week, and search more than 600 events to join the activities in your community.
Lawmakers are joining the action as well. The Washington state Senate passed a resolution last week in honor of Spay Day, and Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle issued a proclamation urging residents to participate in the annual event. Similar statewide recognition is pending this week in California, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Local municipalities, too—such as those in Rancho Cordova (California), Fairfield (Illinois), Union Springs (Alabama), San Marcos (Texas), and others—are celebrating Spay Day with official statements recognizing the tragedy of pet homelessness and endorsing spay/neuter as a humane and effective means of reducing it.
We have made tremendous progress on this issue in recent years, even as the nation’s population of people and pets has climbed. In the 1970s, shelters in America euthanized about 12-20 million dogs and cats when there were 67 million in people’s homes. Today, around 4 million animals are euthanized while there are more than 135 million dogs and cats in people’s homes. We’ve gone from perhaps 25 percent of dogs and cats in America euthanized every year, to about three percent—thanks to the innovative spay/neuter, pet adoption, and rescue programs around the country.
The goal of ending euthanasia of healthy and treatable dogs and cats is within our reach, and Spay Day is a major part of the solution. Every dog and every cat deserves a loving home, and nothing less. Ask your state and local officials to help spread the word, and make a difference for pets in your community.