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Too many stray dogs and cats

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21.DEC.07

Editor: St.Vincent and the Grenadines has a huge overpopulation of dogs and cats. It is a very sad picture in some of the areas to see so many starving, unhealthy, unwanted and unloved animals.{{more}}

One male dog can father hundreds of puppies. One female dog can give birth to 12 puppies in a year. Just imagine how many dogs are running free and continue to produce a countless number of puppies who end up on the streets, and no one feels responsible or cares for them. These animals live a hard life until they starve, die of disease or become victims of motor accidents, and lie suffering at the side of the road until they eventually succumb to their injuries. The same applies for cats. One unspayed cat can give birth to 16 kittens, which reproduce in just six months.

A publication from the Humane Society of the United States shows that two female dogs and all their descendants can produce 67,000 in just six years. Two female cats and their descendants can number 420,000 in just seven years.

Of course, there are many owners of dogs and cats who do care about their animals, but often not enough, or in unawareness of the above, to have their animal neutered/spayed. There are behavioral and health benefits when an animal is spayed/neutered. The spayed animal is content to stay at home and is not inclined to roam and annoy the neighbors. They are less likely to bark or howl excessively. Neutering a male dog/cat curbs aggression, fighting, excessive barking and howling. In addition, there are so many animals out there with diseases of all kinds. If your animal gets in contact with one of the sick ones, yours will be most likely infected as well.

Due to health and behavioral benefits, spayed and neutered animals live on average twice as long as their unaltered counterparts. Those who breed dogs each year for profit are contributing to the animal overpopulation. Very often, if somebody gets a puppy or a kitten, the decision is made because the little animal is so cute. People forget that those puppies and kittens grow bigger, and suddenly they are not the cute cuddly little animal anymore.

Every owner of an animal could help to get the overpopulation under control by taking their animal/s to the vet and have them spayed or neutered. It is a very simple procedure. You drop off your animal at the vet’s clinic and can even pick it up at the same day. For male dogs/cats, this is almost a non-event and for female animals, they require a few days recovery.

Please make an appointment with your vet. Those of you that have had their dog or cat fixed are playing their part to make a real difference. Actively encourage your friends to take the same step. It is a fallacy that dogs and cats are happier in their “natural state”. Studies have shown that this is not the case. By reducing the stray population, we will achieve additional benefits. More and more tourists are coming to our beautiful Island, and the last thing that we need to show them are starving and sick stray animals on our streets. Please help to improve your animal’s life and reduce the ‘crowd’ on the streets and backyards.

If you are planning the Christmas gift for your child or spouse to be a puppy, please have the above mentioned consequences in mind.

Trudy Arthur

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