February 25th marks the 20th annual World Spay Day, an event sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States to educate pet owners about the importance of spaying and neutering pets. Oklahoma Alliance for Animals (OAA) is once again participating in the HSUS World Spay Day effort, turning this very important day into Spay Month with their annual It’s Hip to Snip! campaign.
It’s Hip to Snip!, conducted in partnership with Spay Oklahoma, generates awareness about the important role spay/neuter plays in reducing pet overpopulation. The campaign also provides opportunities for qualified low-income households to receive spay and neuter surgeries at a reduced cost through Spay Oklahoma and several rural mobile clinics. OAA is providing over $15,000 in spay/neuter surgery subsidies to ensure cost is not a barrier to low-income pet owners. Last year’s campaign resulted in over 1,500 animals being sterilized in the month of February. This year’s goal is 1,750 surgeries. Tulsa citizens can get involved by making a donation to the “Chip In for Snippin’” fund at participating pet retailers and service providers around town.
Spaying and neutering pets is the most effective method in reducing the number of unwanted pets entering animal shelters each year and in turn the number of pets destroyed simply because they don’t have homes. National estimates indicate approximately 7 million pets enter animal shelters each year and of those, nearly 4 million are ultimately destroyed – about one every eight seconds. Oklahoma suffers from even worse euthanasia rates due to our severe pet overpopulation problem. At the Tulsa shelter alone, only 35% of the animals entering the shelter are reclaimed by their owners, adopted or pulled from the shelter by area no-kill rescues.
The heart-breaking reality is most cats and dogs that die as a result of pet overpopulation could have made wonderful pets. Even more heartbreaking is the fact their births, and ultimately their deaths, were preventable through simple spay and neuter surgeries. These animals are often the offspring of family pets or strays who had accidental litters. They are brought to municipal shelters and area rescues because pet owners are unable to care for them or find them new homes. Because space at municipal shelters is limited, so is the time available to these pets to find new homes and difficult decisions must be made by shelter staff.
There are many benefits to having pets spayed and neutered. It not only prevents unwanted litters and reduces pet overpopulation, it also improves a pet’s health and behavior. Deadly diseases related to the reproductive organs such as testicular cancer, breast cancer and pyometra can be prevented. Pets that have been altered are less likely to roam looking for mates. Neutered males are less aggressive toward other male animals and are less likely to mark.
Another good reason to have your pet spayed or neutered is that it is required by ordinance in the City of Tulsa (Title 2 § 101.A.17) and many other communities in Oklahoma.
For more information about reduced cost surgeries and qualification criteria in the Tulsa area, contact Spay Oklahoma at 918-728-3144 (North Tulsa Clinic), 918-970-4222 (Bixby Clinic) or visitwww.spayok.org.