Spay/neuter is “the equalizer” when it comes to halting animal suffering in big numbers. It’s the equalizer because it provides the exact same opportunity to change the status quo in the poorest community as it does in the wealthiest! And the effect is geometric, not one at a time.
No other single step that can be taken on behalf of animals, sheltering, rescue or anything else, has a similar cost and the very same value in every community that makes the effort.
A spayed dog does not have a litter…whether she lives in a mansion near Beverly Hills, or in chronic poverty with a homeless family, the impact of being spayed is the same…no unwanted litters, a more stable life for the pet and a better canine citizen overall.
High volume spay/neuter programs, whether they are in a large urban clinic or a private practice partnership program, strive for efficiency and the amount of money the client pays often covers the cost of the surgery—shelters cost the municipality while spay/neuter programs break even! Even in the poorest communities, at least a portion of the cost of the spay or neuter is generally paid by the caregiver or owner– other ‘solutions’ are generally supported by taxpayers or funders.
So why do many poor communities operate a small shelter as the ‘first strike’ instead of establishing a spay/neuter program and enforcing no-more-litters laws? The answer lies in the fact that the solution is elusive (we don’t see the ones who are prevented) and the lack of services has made spay/neuter into a consideration that comes later on. Sadly, by waiting until ‘after the fact,’ many more animals suffer.
Spay/neuter…it’s the 99% solution.
That doesn’t mean that the 99% have access to affordable spay neuter programs. It means that for 99% of the population, spay/neuter can be used to reduce or eliminate pet overpopulation even if the community doesn’t have the budget to operate a humane shelter or transport pets to other areas.