A post on the Best Friends website addresses the issue of adopting out intact shelter pets and cites diminished access to veterinary services nationwide. The basic idea being that pets waiting to get neutered are better off in their new homes rather than a shelter. Best Friends is fully supportive of the strategy:
[W]e can trust much of the public to get their animals altered. Every time pet owners have been surveyed, a high percentage of their animals are spayed or neutered – 80% or more on average, though cats are more frequently fixed than dogs. People place a high value on having animals who won’t produce kittens or puppies or exhibit the behaviors associated with intact pets, so they will return for surgery appointments or have it performed at their own veterinarian’s office.
I have mixed feelings in response to this. I have no problem with adopting out intact shelter pets with a voucher for free neuter, especially for some dogs whose health is negatively impacted by neutering prior to maturity. I also think it’s a good idea for shelters to focus neuter resources more on feral cats who are otherwise highly unlikely to be neutered and will create more feral cats throughout their reproductive lives. I’m not one who demonizes someone with an owned pet who has a litter.
On the other hand, the strategy is being framed as another rung on the “community sheltering” ladder which, to my mind, is little more than shelters telling the public, “No YOU do our jobs, while still paying us with your tax money.” I am not a fan of shelters refusing to help feral or homeless pets and deeming that the public’s responsibility. And obviously I am deeply opposed to shelters who take in animals, kill them and blame the public, which is sometimes the case when shelters claim to be “forced” to accept animals. Lastly, I’m concerned that some shelters are going to charge the adoption fee and release the intact animal without a voucher that covers the full neuter fee, or without a voucher at all. This is going to place another financial burden on adopters which is not the right direction.
What do you think about shelters adopting out intact pets? Are you seeing difficulty in accessing vet services, and neuter services specifically, in your area?