PET CORNER: World Spay Day offers important reminder

By DEB GREEN
Guest Columnist

Believe it or not spring is just around the corner. In the animal welfare world that means kitten season is approaching. What does that mean? It means that soon Homeward Bound will be full of kittens needing homes.

What can all of us do to change this? A very important component of making change happen is to spay or neuter. Feb. 27, 2018, is World Spay Day which spotlights the fact that spay/neuter saves lives by reducing the number of animals that find themselves in shelters.

As I look at Homeward Bound and the animals that we have there, two things jump out at me. We have a lot of cats looking for homes and although are dog population has been down the last six months, we still seem to have an unequal amount of “pit bull” and pit bull type mixes as compared to other types of dogs.

How can we implement change in Manistee County’s pet overpopulation? First let’s talk about the cats. Well the good news is that in Michigan the number of cats brought to animal shelters between 2012 and 2016 has dropped 24 percent, part of a national trend of fewer animals ending up in shelters. But there is still work to be done.

A cat’s average litter size is four kittens, but they can have many more. A cat can also have several litters in a year. Of course, the male cats play their part too. A male cat can sire 2,500 kittens in a single year! Siblings can also mate. If your cat has a litter of kittens, it can be a lot of work and it can be very difficult to find homes for them. That is one of the reasons they end up at Homeward Bound. These facts are just some of the reasons why it is so important to spay/neuter your cat.

“Pit bulls” make up the largest percentage of dogs in shelters across the United States. By “pit bull” (which is not a breed), I mean any dog that possesses the physical traits of a bulky muscular body and square blocky shaped head.

Homeward Bound Animal Shelter is no exception to this rule and has its fair share of so called pit bull type dogs. Believe it or not, one of the big reasons so many pit bulls are ending up in shelters is that they are very popular. Because of that popularity there is way too much breeding of pit bulls going on. Pit bulls also end up in shelters in large numbers due to myths and misconceptions.

While Homeward Bound knows that pit bulls can be loving, great pets, that every dog is an individual, and that matching the right dog to the right family or person is what makes for a match “made in heaven”, these myths and misperceptions can impact public opinions and reduce the adoption rates of these type dogs.

What is one thing we can do to decrease the number of “pit bull” type dogs at Homeward Bound? Spay or neuter your “pit bull”!

By spay or neutering your cat or your pit bull, and helping spread the word about the importance of spay and neuter, you can have a great impact on the number of homeless pets at Homeward Bound.

If you are someone in Manistee County who needs financial help to spay or neuter your cat or pit bull or you know someone who needs help, we have two organizations that can help you.

The Save a Buddy Fund’s Pit Stop Program offers $100 toward the spay or neuter of pit bulls and pit bull mixes. You can apply online at www.saveabuddyfund.org or call (231) 463-7425 for an application. There are no income restrictions to qualify for assistance.

Another group, SNAG (Spay Neuter Action Group) can help with the spay and neuter of your cat. Their certificate program can offset some of the cost. Contact Kristi at (231) 889-0182 for more information.

And finally, as a community, you can also help by donating to our local animal welfare groups who help spay or neuter, or house, feed, and find homes for the many cats and pit bulls that need help.

Homeward Bound has a special need right now. We are looking for a volunteer social media coordinator. A current website and Facebook page are important tools in assuring the success of Homeward Bound. We are looking for someone with a computer and the skills to help us update on social media on a regular basis. If you have an hour or two a week to spend helping us update our website and Facebook page, we need you. Contact me at (906) 440-6770 or the shelter at (231) 723-7387 for more information.

Deb Green is the vice president of the Manistee County Humane Society. She can be reached at dgreen1004@gmail.com.

MORE INFORMATION

Homeward Bound Animal Shelter is located off M-55 at 736 Paws Trail in Manistee. Hours are noon to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays and noon to 4 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

For more information, contact Homeward Bound at (231) 723-7387 or visit www.homewardboundmanistee.org or Facebook. Manistee County Humane Society/Homeward Bound is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

 

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