Free Weekly Staff
Last year about half of the unwanted animals taken in by the Fayetteville Animal Shelter were euthanized because they could not find homes. Exactly 2,301 animals had to be put to sleep.
The homeless pet problem can largely be attributed to pet owners who do not spay or neuter their pets, said Lib Horn, an advocate for animals and former Fayetteville Animal Shelter director.
To bring awareness to the importance of spaying and neutering, the Washington County Animal Concerns Advisory Board will host Spay Day on Feb. 27 to try to ease the unwanted pet problem.
The event will be from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Washington County Sheriff’s Department Annex at 1155 Clydesdale Drive in south Fayetteville, off U.S. 71 business.
Claudette Cardwell, chairman of the advisory board, said the event is a countywide effort and that mayors from all towns in Washington County have been invited to participate.
“Our plan for this Spay Day is for the entire county to come together and take care of their animals,” Cardwell said.
The first 100 dogs or cats that come to the event with their owners will receive a free microchip. Low-cost rabies vaccinations will be available for about $5. There will be information on available low-cost or free spay and neuter programs and there will be dogs available for adoption. Local search and rescue dogs will attend and there will be obedience demonstrations. Representatives from Humane Society of the Ozarks and Spay Arkansas will also be there.
Spay Day is an annual campaign of The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International to inspire people to save animal lives by spaying or neutering pets and feral cats.
Additionally, PETA is showing its supporting for spay and neuter and hopes to put billboards in NWA next month that reference Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar.
According to Amanda Schinke of PETA, “There’s another group that’s expanding even faster (than the Duggars): homeless dogs and cats.”
The billboard reads: “Doggies Multiply Faster Than Duggars. Be Responsible. Always Spay and Neuter.”
“The Duggar kids will probably never need to worry about having a roof over their heads or food in their mouths, but the millions of unwanted cats and dogs born each year in this country aren’t as lucky,” said PETA Executive Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch in a press statement. “The best way to keep cats and dogs out of animal shelters is to spay and neuter all four-legged family members.”
Almost 8 million cats and dogs enter animal shelters every year in the U.S., and roughly half of them are euthanized because there are not enough homes.
Last year, the Fayetteville Animal Shelter — which also shelters unwanted animals from Winslow, Elkins, Goshen, Farmington, Greenland, Elm Springs and unincorporated areas of Washington county — sheltered almost 5,000 homeless pets.
The shelter took in 1,765 cats and only 738 of them found homes while 1,027 were euthanized, with a euthanasia rate of 58 percent.
The 3,145 dogs that were cared for by the shelter fared somewhat better with 1,871 dogs finding homes, leaving 1,274 euthanized, with a euthanasia rate of 40 percent.
One unspayed female cat and her offspring can create 420,000 cats in just seven years. One unneutered male dog can father limitless litters.
Cardwell said it is important not only to spay female pets, but to neuter male pets. She said a male dog will travel miles to find a female in heat. Although most larger cities in the county have leash laws that require pet to be contained, there are no leash laws in the countythere are no leash laws in the county, Cardwell said.
“Spay and neuter is one of the most important things an owner can do,” Cardwell said. “People who love animals should get them spayed and neutered.”