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SPCA combats pet overpopulation

The B.C. SPCA is urging pet guardians and all animal lovers to do their part to help end the tragedy of pet overpopulation in British Columbia.

The non-profit animal welfare society is highlighting the benefits of spaying and neutering for pets during Spay/Neuter Awareness Month in February.

“The terrible reality is that there are still many more animals born in our province every year than there are homes for,” said Lorie Chortyk, general manager of community relations for the B.C. SPCA. “The SPCA and other rescue groups find homes for thousands of these abandoned or surrendered animals every year, but we know that there are so many more who suffer and die after being abandoned by their guardians. It is heartbreaking because this is a completely preventable problem.”

In 2010, the B.C. SPCA’s 37 branches took in nearly 34,000 abandoned, neglected, injured and abused animals.

“We find that with many pet guardians it is attitude, rather than cost, that prevents them from having their animals sterilized,” said Chortyk. “They love their pets, but they don’t realize that by not having them spayed or neutered they may be impacting their pet’s quality of life and the bond they could be sharing.”

Some of the benefits of spaying and neutering include:

Decreased aggression

Neutering generally reduces aggressive behaviours in pets. Neutered dogs are calmer and less likely to bite, attack or get into altercations. Neutered cats don’t have the drive to mark and protect their territory and are less likely to spray or get into cat fights.

Calmer, happier pets

Female cats go in and out of heat every three weeks between January and November. In addition to preventing unwanted litters, spaying a cat will reduce its desire to escape to find a mate.

Increased health

Spaying or neutering a pet reduces the likelihood of developing uterine, ovarian and testicular cancers;

Good overall pet care

Having a pet sterilized also provides an opportunity to have other important health procedures performed, as necessary, such as an identification tattoo or microchip or teeth cleaning. Spaying and neutering is done under a general anesthetic, so the pet won’t be in pain.

If cost is a concern, the SPCA provides assistance to low-income pet guardians where possible and many communities have low-cost spay/neuter funds administered through local government.

For more information on spaying and neutering a pet, please visit

Last year the B.C. SPCA spent more than $2 million on spay/neuter programs in communities across B.C. As part of its commitment to ending pet overpopulation, the SPCA sterilizes every dog, cat and rabbit prior to adoption.

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