Curbing the unwanted-pet population

Help fund reduced spay and neuter services on World Spay Day

The author is president of the board of Paws of Chico and director of the organization’s spay/neuter program.

Can you name something that’s sure to happen in the next eight seconds?

As you begin to read this, a cat or dog will be euthanized at a shelter somewhere in the U.S. By the time you’ve finished the first paragraph or two—or as far as you get in about eight seconds—another dog or cat will die. And when you get to the end of this piece, another dozen or so will have been “humanely” put down.

An hour after you’ve finished reading and turned your attention back to other things, 450 more cats and dogs will be dead, and in another hour, that many more again. It doesn’t stop when you don’t think about it—or even when you do.

We’ve made real progress since the effort to educate and encourage the public to spay or neuter their pets began back in the 1970s. Then, only about 10 percent of domestic (“owned”) animals were spayed or neutered.

Individuals who compassionately take in stray, starving animals soon realize they can’t afford the cost of spay or neuter. More help is needed to accomplish the goal of eliminating the problem of unwanted pets. That’s where Paws of Chico comes in; we help people get their pets spayed or neutered by paying part of the cost.

Feb. 25 has been designated World Spay Day by the Humane Society of the United States, as a way to highlight the critical importance of this effort. Paws of Chico is staging its own “celebration” by conducting a low-cost spay/neuter clinic on Feb. 22 and 23. Together with Valley Oak Veterinary Center and All About Pets, we hope to spay or neuter 90 cats and 30 small dogs (up to 39 pounds). That’s enough to prevent hundreds of potentially unwanted kittens and puppies from being born.

Anyone who wants to help can make a donation to Paws of Chico. We’re a nonprofit organization that, since our founding in 2005, has facilitated the spay and neuter of more than 4,500 cats and dogs in the greater Chico area.

We believe that every pet owner should have spay/neuter services available as an affordable option. It benefits everyone in the community. Please join us in this effort.

Paws of Chico can be reached at P.O. Box 93, Chico, CA 95927, or by calling 895-2109.