As it stands, there are more animals available for adoption than there are homes for them — resulting in nearly 4 million dogs and cats being euthanized in U.S. animal shelters every year;(1) half of all dogs and seven out of ten cats entering shelters are destroyed. This number is a fraction of what it was 20 years ago, due to wider availability of low cost spay and neuter programs. Providing low cost procedures was a significant step to reducing the rate of euthanasia, but the number has since reached a plateau and remains where it was a decade ago. Therefore, to put an end to this needless destruction of animal life, we now have to determine why the number of animals euthanized has leveled and how can we FiX this.
There is still a significant segment of the human population that has not sterilized their pets. In the U.S., 1.2 million cats and 2.1 million dogs have not been fixed.(2) When you consider that an unaltered female cat and her offspring have the potential to produce 17 cats in two years, 55 in three years, 175 in four years until the number reaches over 5,000 at seven years, it becomes clear why there is a crisis on our hands.(3)
Motivation and Economics
Two issues are important for determining whether people have fixed their pets or not: motivation and economics. People with unaltered animals most commonly answer “Haven’t bothered yet” when asked why they have not yet fixed their animals.(4) A similar lack of initiative was found in populations in the Gulf Coast region, with the top two reasons given include “I haven’t gotten around to it” and “it costs too much”(5) for both cats and dogs owners.
These two issues can be eliminated, and the number of fixed dogs and cats increased. FiXiT Foundation will bring free spay and neuter to eliminate economic limitations and provide incentives to increase motivation.
(1) Animal People, “Decade of adoption focus fails to reduce shelter killing.” July/August 2009, Volume XIX, #6.
(2) AVMA, U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook 2007 Edition.
(3) Carl Bialik–“Trying to Herd a Cat”, Oct. 12, 2006 WSJ.com (March 18, 2010, http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB116058075161889442-lMyQjAxMDE5NjEwMDUxODAwWj.html)
(4) HSUS, “Gulf Coast Pet Research Project: Phase 1” March 2007, citing: Purina,”The State of the American Pet” 2000.
(5) HSUS, “Messaging Spay/Neuter Lessons from the Gulf Coast Spay/Neuter Campaign” March 2009.