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February 25, 2009

Fixing Pet Overpopulation

Yesterday we celebrated Spay Day, marking the 15th anniversary of this annual campaign founded by the Doris Day Animal League. More than 500 events were held yesterday and throughout February—both across the country (in all 50 states and the District of Columbia) and across the world, with more than 16 countries participating—to provide discounted or free spay or neuter surgeries to thousands of pets and feral cats. Patrick McDonnell, creator of MUTTS, helped us honor the occasion with a special Spay Day-themed strip and, in case you didn’t catch it in the newspaper, I’ve posted it below.

Dog Coco assists with ribbon cutting at Robinson's Rescue
© The HSUS
Coco, Robinson's Rescue's mascot, assists with the "ribbon chewing."

One of the most exciting of yesterday’s events for The HSUS was the official grand opening of Robinson's Rescue, a low-cost spay/neuter clinic in Shreveport, La. As I detailed on the blog in October 2007, we’ve dedicated enormous resources to an “After Katrina” project to help reduce the number of animals entering shelters in the Gulf Coast states. Collaborating with Maddie’s Fund and more than 55 sheltering and animal control facilities and stakeholders throughout Louisiana and Mississippi, we’ve launched a social marketing campaign designed to drive shelter animal adoption and to promote spay and neuter.

It’s an unprecedented infusion of resources in an area with chronic problems of homelessness and euthanasia. Echoing comments heard in other early campaign cities, Asunta Davis, clinic director at Robinson's Rescue, reports, “We now have the wonderful problem of the phone ringing off the hook; the campaign is awesome and we appreciate HSUS support so much.” The local agencies will track shelter statistics and report the response to the campaign through 2010, helping us develop a model for the rest of the nation and an effective strategy for reducing the overall numbers of animals taken in by shelters.

Though Spay Day 2009 has passed, there are several ways you can still get involved to help us save animals’ lives:

  • If you’ve entered our Spay Day Online Pet Photo Contest, you’re in the homestretch to rally support for your pet (if you haven’t entered, the deadline is 5 p.m. Eastern time this Friday, Feb. 27). Votes can be collected through midnight on March 6.
  • As a reminder, I’ll send a Spay Day 2009 T-shirt to anyone who donates 50 votes or more to my cat Libby. Though Libby has a respectable 544 votes, she’s being shown up by some other frisky feline fundraisers. Molly, for instance, just took the lead with 2,060 votes. Every dollar donated will help spay and neuter animals around the world.
  • Please also consider a donation to Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association to fund free or low-cost spay and neuter services for pets living with families in underserved communities. Just $22 can neuter and $46 can spay a cat, while $47 can neuter and $68 can spay a dog. Last year we provided more than 32,000 pets with this lifesaving surgery.
  • It’s not too soon to think about organizing an event for Spay Day 2010; the necessary information can be found at humanesociety.org/spaydayparticipate.

We must all do more to eliminate pet homelessness. Nearly 4 million cats and dogs are euthanized each year in shelters across the country. The more we can do to support spaying and neutering, the sooner that number will decline.

Spay Day 2009 MUTTS strip
MUTTS © 2009 Patrick McDonnell—Distributed by King Features Syndicate

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