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February 28, 2012 > Ohlone Humane Society: World Spay Month

Ohlone Humane Society: World Spay Month

United we can fix the problem

By Nancy Lyon

In the next few months it won't be just flowers that will be springing to life and populating the landscape. With spring comes the birth of young animals, among them many cats and dogs. The thought of fuzzy puppies and kittens may sound sweet but their number far exceeds the hope of finding a decent life for them or, for that matter, the chance of surviving for very long. The problem isn't just a local phenomenon; the seasonal increase of unwanted companion animals is a world-wide problem.

In a world bursting at the seams with 7 billion humans and all its related problems, you might think that the birth of an excess of animals would go unheeded. But that's not the case.

In 1995, a movement to put an end to the killing of this country's animal companions started out as Spay Day USA by the Doris Day Animal Foundation (DDAF). It was a welcome birth of a banding together of people dedicated to putting a halt to the killing of unwanted companion animals - a mission that has evolved into a multi-nation effort spreading to 46 countries.

With blessing of the DDAF, the banner was picked up by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the Humane Society International (HIS) and many organizations working in cooperation to raise awareness of the need to spay/neuter companion animals. Spay Day USA has now evolved into World Spay/Neuter Day, annually observed on February 28, and a planet encircling event known as World Spay Month.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of HSUS stated, "The overpopulation of cats, dogs and other pets is a global problem and it's gratifying to see that caring people the world over are working to raise awareness that spay/neuter is the solution."..."to reflect Spay Day's new status in the world, it is only fitting that we change the name of Spay Day USA to World Spay Day."

Previously, in countries where stray animals were culled off the streets and put to death as a solution to their burgeoning numbers, there now exist dedicated groups of people working tirelessly to not only provide sterilization for dogs and cats but immunizations against disease including the deadly rabies virus. This has allowed frightened people to see the animals as creatures with lives deserving of consideration and care rather than potentially dangerous vermin.

Their efforts have not only helped prevent the birth and ensuing death of thousands of animals but in the process have changed the attitudes of thousands upon thousands of people in far-reaching countries as diverse as Liberia, Panama, Ghana, India - and the list goes on and on.

No longer seen as a threat to human survival, animal companions lucky enough to have homes and those unfortunates who are forced to live on the streets, can now have a greater chance to be seen as innocents that whose lives have value and their welfare considered.

Through these combined efforts, they continue to work toward to putting an end to the needless waste of life... and it is paying off. The World Spay Month movement is catching fire and is spreading around the world as education and resources are made available to stem the birth of unwanted companion animals.

This month in the United States, many organizations have been promoting World Spay Day through spay/neuter awareness and associated activities, forming a link uniting hundreds of events organized by local animal welfare organizations and advocates, as well as participating veterinary professionals.

Since the inception of Spay Day, HSUS estimates that more than one million animals have been sterilized by those supporting the campaign. Efforts including low and no-cost spay/neuter clinics for low-income families, fundraisers to benefit spay/neuter programs and educational efforts informing companion animal guardians about the importance of spaying or neutering have made a significant difference.

Yet there is much work still to be done. Each year an estimated four million cats and dogs - about one every eight seconds - are killed in U.S. animals shelters because there are no homes available for them.

These figures do not include the countless lives of unaltered and abandoned companion animals who never made it to a shelter but were left to try and survive on their own and ultimately died but not before adding their off-spring to the growing number of feral animals.

Whether from lack of financing or ignorance of the suffering and death they are contributing to, many people let their beloved family companion animals reproduce. Spay/neuter is a proven way to reduce pet overpopulation, ensuring that every pet has a family to love them.

There really is no excuse, there are many low-cost and even no-cost spay/neuter programs available that cover most areas of the country; helping those on very limited incomes or living on ever-tightening social security or disability benefits. In 2011, Ohlone Humane Society assisted in the spaying/neutering of just under 1,000 dogs, cats and rabbits and receives no local or state funding for the program. The OHS Spay/Neuter Assistance program is made possible by the generosity of our members and supporters.

Don't wait, call today for Spay/Neuter Assistance: 1-800-248-SPAY (1-800-248-7729); Ohlone Humane Society 510--792-0927

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