By Diane Dynis

In 1989, more than 150,000 animals were destroyed by animal control agencies and humane societies in Dallas/Fort Worth. The average cost: $33.83 per animal.

Dallas County euthanized 31,234 animals at an approximate cost of $1,482,350.

Although these are staggering numbers, it’s not a problem people want to hear about. Because the numbers continue to escalate, the SPCA of Texas and other humane organizations have joined forces to encourage responsible pet owners to have their animals spayed or neutered.

This month, we’ll address some of the most common questions concerning pet sterilization:

What is spaying? Spaying involved removing the female reproductive organs by surgery. The technical name is “ovario-hysterectomy”.

What is neutering? Neutering is castration of the male pet.

Will spaying or neutering make a pet fat and lazy? No. Animals, like people. Generally get fat and lazy from too much food or the wrong kind of food.

Shouldn’t a pet have at least one litter before being spayed? Definitely not. Having “just one litter” does not make a dog or cat a happier or better pet. In fact, the operation usually is simpler if the animal has not had a litter.

Isn’t it cruel to deprive an animal of a sex-life> No. From what we know, pets want affection, warmth, food, and shelter, not parenthood.

How old should a pet be before it is spayed or neutered? At least six months old.

Where can I get my pet spayed or neutered? Contact your veterinarian or the SPCA Low-Cost Spay/Neuter clinic at 651-9611 to make an appointment.

Need some reasons to have your pet spayed or neutered? Try these:

It’s the best solution to uncontrolled breeding and the growing pet population problem.

It’s good for your pet. A spayed female dog or cat won’t develop certain types of cancer. A neutered male dog or cat is less likely to roam.

It saves money in license fees. In accordance with Dallas law, owners of spayed or neutered pets pay a much lower license fee each year.

It’s convenient for you. Spayed female pets don’t have “heat” periods. Neutered male pets are less likely to roam or get into fights. Spaying or neutering is a responsible action for you and your pet. Only one out of five puppies and kittens finds a home. There are just not enough good homes for every pet.

Lakewood resident Diane Dynis is the director of public relations for the SPCA of Texas, a private, non-profit organization dedicated to protecting animals from cruelty and providing a second chance for unwanted animals. Send your pet questions to Diane c/o the Advocate, P.O. Box 596422, Dallas 75359

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