Springtime Pet Babies

Mar 21, 2015

Spring has sprung!
Credit Jessica Favaro [Flickr]

Puppies and kittens are so cute, and so plentiful in the Spring - too plentiful. in fact.  If you are considering adopting a new pet, this is the perfect time of year because so many are available and looking for a home!

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This week we saw the Vernal Equinox – officially the first day of spring. And in the animal world that means - BABIES!  Baby birds, baby squirrels, baby chipmunks, and - unfortunately - baby dogs and cats - puppies and kittens. 

Spring is a time most of us really look forward to, but for animal control and animal welfare workers, spring means too many animals looking for homes.  More puppies and kittens are surrendered to animal shelters in the upcoming months of April, May and June than at any other time of the year.  The reason for this is simple: during this time of year - early spring - many dogs and cats are as eager as we are to get outside and enjoy the milder weather.

It also happens to be a time when unspayed female pets go into heat, which attracts unneutered male pets. They will jump over, dig under or climb fences in order to get to the females. If there is more than one male animal in the area, they may compete for the attention of a female, so you might see male pets fighting, often causing each other serious injury. And if one or more of those males succeed in mating with a female, a couple of months later a litter of puppies or kittens is born.

The result is an over-abundance of mostly mixed-breed pets - so many that there are not enough homes for them all. Right here in our area, thousands of animals never have a chance for a good home and a loving owner, for the sole reason that there are just too many being born. Most animal shelters have no choice - euthanasia is the only humane option for the victims of pet over-population.

Please do not allow your pet to run free. If you have a cat, it can live indoors and get along quite well. Your dog can be fenced or kept on a leash when it goes outdoors. In many areas, letting a pet run loose is a violation of leash laws - but it's also good pet sense to guard your pet against danger by keeping it safe at home.

And most importantly, talk to your veterinarian about having your furry companion surgically altered (neutered or spayed) to prevent unwanted litters. It can be a life-and-death decision for future generations, when you’re speaking of pets.

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