In a column at OnlineAthens.com, a vet tech/spay-neuter clinic volunteer says she wants “to educate the public on a few little known facts”. A promising opener. Followed by a crock of miseducation. Let’s set the record straight. Again.
Is it a mystery why we have such a pet overpopulation problem?
You know what’s a mystery to me? Why so-called animal advocates keep saying we have a pet overpopulation problem when that myth has been debunked.
More than 400,000 unwanted kittens and puppies were turned in to Georgia Open Door Animal Shelters in 2010 (on top of the already-heavy surplus).
Source, please? I am a total wonk for shelter reports and somehow this one, which apparently tallies the total number of cats and dogs, broken down by age, that entered Georgia’s shelters in 2010 has eluded me. I would love to read that report. Anyone?
In just six years, one female dog and her offspring can be the source of 67,000 puppies.
OK, let’s take a look at the math on this oft touted figure, and sprinkle in a dose of reality. Here is the myth:
An unspayed female dog, her mate and all of their puppies, if none are ever neutered or spayed, can add up to:
So in the first year, we are assuming the bitch had two litters with her mate, resulting in 14 pups (plus the adult bitch and sire for a total of 16).
Possible, yes – although while 7 might be an average litter size for a retriever or a shepherd, smaller dogs will average fewer pups per litter. In order to carry on with the math in the model, we have to assume all of the following:
- Every pup survives.
- Every pup is fertile.
- Every pup is sexually mature at 6 months of age and able to produce two better-than-average sized litters in the first year of life.
- Every pup is either a roaming stray or owned by someone who allows the dog to breed indiscriminately.
The first 3 assumptions go against the laws of nature and the last goes against societal norms. Therefore, I find the basis of this model to be fatally flawed.
Back to the article:
For cats, one female cat and her offspring can be the source of 420,000 kittens in just seven years.
The true figure for how many cats are produced from an intact female cat over a 7 year period is actually 100 – 400. And even those figures are on the high side because they assume that no adult cats die, which we know to be false. See the math and the research behind the realistic estimates here.
Huge numbers, huh? So how can they all possibly get homes?
Yeah, huge false numbers. They can’t all possibly get homes. In fact, none of us humans would be able to keep our homes if those numbers were real. We’d have to wade through piles of cats and dogs just to cross the street.
Pet overpopulation results in the destruction of more than 3 million perfectly good dogs and cats every year in the United States.
No it doesn’t, because it doesn’t exist. What results in the needless killing of healthy/treatable shelter pets is maintaining the status quo and repeating myths to the public under the guise of education.
[Spay-neuter] is the only answer to achieving a no-kill status in animal shelters in this country.
Many shelters in this country have achieved no kill status by implementing the No Kill Equation. And they didn’t have to lie about it either.