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Project 3

Grace Burrow, Katelynn Martin, and Kelly Snyder


ENGL 3030 – Technical Writing
Fall 2018 Semester
November 13th, 2018
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TABLE OF CONTENTS

TITLE Page #

Introduction…………………………………………………………. 3

Animal Care Costs for a Shelter……………………………………. 4

Spread of Diseases…………………………………………………... 4-5

Feral Cats……………………………………………………………. 5

Overbreeding and Inbreeding……………………………………… 6

Alternatives…………..………………………………………………. 6

Spaying and Neutering…….………………………………………... 7

Animal Contraceptives……………………………………………... 8

Non-Surgical Sterilization………………………………………….. 8-9

Euthanasia…………………………………………..……………….. 9

Method………………………………………………………………. 9-10

Evaluation…………………………………………………………… 10

Conclusion…………………………………………………………… 10

Recommendations…………………………………………………… 10-11

Works Cited………………………………………………………….. 12
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Introduction
The purpose of this report is to bring awareness to the public and to pet owners for the need to

spay/neuter dogs and cats. Animal overpopulation is an ever-evolving problem in the United

States and all over the world. Each year millions of dogs, cats, and other animals come through

animal shelters. Woodruff and Smith estimated that “5,532,904 entered [shelters in the United

States] in 2016” (Kartal 8). We are addressing the public because they are the ones who will

ultimately be able to make a difference and make the necessary changes to ensure that these

animals can lead better lives. The lack of spaying/neutering causes many problems that mostly

arise from the overpopulation of dogs and cats. Animal overpopulation is a serious issue for

many reasons, and not only does it affect the animal population, but it can also directly affect the

human population as well. All of the following can arise from animal overpopulation: the spread

of disease, feral cats, and overbreeding. Take a look at figure 1 below. As you can see the

monthly and annual intake of the shelter in Elmore county Alabama exceeds their max capacity.

They only option is to euthanatize. Euthanasia is a difficult topic for many people and they want

to stop the killing of animals in shelter. If you want to avoid euthanasia than stop allowing pets

to go unsterilized. The unwanted litters and unwanted dogs and cats are what is causing the issue

of euthanasia.

***Table 1: *** Estimated Intake at Elmore County Humane


Society (Smith)
Animal Weekly Monthly Yearly
Dog 45 180 2,160
Cat 55 220 2,640
Max capacity: 300
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As you can see from the chart above, euthanasia is a viable option for population control.

Animal Care Costs for a Shelter

Another reason many shelters choose to euthanize is because of cost. The cost of keeping an

animal. Take a look at Table 2 below. The chart lists the costs associated with keeping unwanted

animals and litters. As you can see it is financially impossible for shelters to keep all the animals

they take in. they do not have the capacity nor the room to house them.

***Table 2: ***

Total Cost of Animal Care for Elmore County Humane Society (Smith)

*Cost of Cost of Cost of


Animal Total
Vaccines Spay/Neuter Care
78.14 50 15 per day 143.14
Dog

Cat 14.99 25 15 per day 54.99

Litter of 89.94 150 15 per day 329.94


Kittens (6)
Litter of 468.84 150 15 per day 708.84
Puppies (6)
*Bordatella, Rabies, Deworming, and parvovirus/distemper prevention shot.

Spread of Diseases

While the spread of diseases among cats and dogs may not seem like an issue for humans, some

of the diseases, such as ringworm, scabies, and rabies, can even be spread to the human

population. Many of these diseases are found among over populated dogs and cats that lack the

proper nutrition and care that they would receive if they had a good home. Ringworm is defined

as, “a common skin infection that is caused by a fungus. It is called ‘ringworm’ because it can

cause a circular rash (shaped like a ring) that is usually red and itchy” (“Parasites”). While this

disease may not be serious, it would definitely be irritating and may even keep a person from
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doing normal everyday tasks. Similar to ring-worm, is scabies, and scabies can be described as,

“an infestation of the skin… The microscopic scabies mite burrows into the upper layer of the

skin where it lives and lays its eggs” (“Scabies”). Not only would this disease be uncomfortable,

but it is hard to fathom having mites burrow into your skin. Furthermore, rabies is a dangerous

viral disease that can kill both animals and humans; In fact, 90% of human-related rabies cases

are caused by rabid dogs, which can be found all over the world (“Rabies”). This relates to

animal overpopulation because when people do not spay or neuter their animals they risk the

possibility of these animals breeding. The litters that can be produced from not spaying/neutering

are then sometimes abandoned in remote areas where they can contract rabies by possibly

ingesting other animal carcasses that may be infected with this disease. All of these issues could

be easily avoided if people would spay or neuter their cats and dogs.

Feral Cats

Another issue that arises from animal overpopulation is the risk of abandoned cats

becoming feral, or having kittens that will become feral. By definition feral cats “are

domesticated cats who are fearful of humans because they have been fending for themselves

from a young age and never had the opportunity to socialize and learn to trust people” (“Feral

Cats” 1). Not only is this sad, but this can be very dangerous. If a feral cat feels threatened, it

could pose a serious hazard to humans who may come into contact with the animal because these

cats aren’t used to being around people. This also connects back to the spread of disease because

these cats could also be at risk for rabies, which is why these cats could be hazardous to humans.

In order to reduce the risk of these things happening, animal overpopulation needs to be

addressed and a solution needs to be found as soon as possible.


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Overbreeding and Inbreeding

While the spread of disease and risk of feral cats are issues that arise from animal

overpopulation, overbreeding directly increases animal overpopulation. An issues with breeders

is that they, “fuel the companion animal overpopulation crisis by bringing more animals into a

world that is already busting at the seams with unwanted ones” (“The Pet Trade” 1). Rather than

adopt from a shelter, many people turn to breeders to get their new puppy or kitten. In fact,

“[e]very newborn puppy or kitten [bred] means that there is one home fewer for a dog or cat

awaiting adoption in an animal shelter or roaming the streets” (1). There are thousands of cats

and dogs in need of homes, and people still choose to buy from breeders rather than adopt. Not

only does overbreeding increase animal overpopulation, but the animals that are being bred are

also at risk. This is because, “[i]n addition to contributing to animal homelessness and suffering,

many breeders endanger animals’ health by breeding dogs who are related to each other, which

can cause life-threatening genetic defects…” (1). Inbreeding is not only inhumane, but also a

health hazard, and it needs to be stopped. If people would adopt rather than purchase these

animals, the cruelty these animal face could be avoided, breeders could be put out of business,

and, in turn, animal overpopulation would also decrease.

Alternatives
While spaying/neutering is more common solution to controlling animal overpopulation, there

are other options to take into consideration. Some of these options include animal contraceptives,

non-surgical sterilization, and Euthanasia. The following topics will cover each of these options

and list the pros and cons of each in detail.


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Spaying and Neutering

So, what exactly is spaying/neutering, and why is it an important goal to work towards? Spay

and neuter, “refers to surgical sterilization by the removal of the ovaries and uterus [in females]

or the testicles [in males]” (Fettig 1). While surgery is necessary, and it is a negative aspect of

this procedure, the benefits outweigh this one downside. Benefits of spaying and neutering are,

“an increased life expectancy and a decrease in the number of unwanted litters and potentially

homeless pets, getting [a] pet spayed or neutered can improve [the] pet's health, reduce unruly or

otherwise unwanted behavior, and will help to save on the cost of pet health care and

ownership” (1). This procedure is for all dogs and cats, male or female. As stated above, it is a

one-time procedure, and it seems like the best option for animal population control.

In fact, a number of surveys were randomly given to people regarding spaying/neutering and

their pets. Out of all of the surveys given, 25 were pet owners. These 25 surveys were chosen,

and figure 1 will show the information collected from these surveys.

***Figure 1: ***(Martin and Snyder)

Percentage of spayed/neutered pets

28%

72%

SPAYED/NEUTERED NOT SPAYED/NEUTERED


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According to the information gathered from this survey, most people choose to spay/neuter their

pets. However, it is not the only option that exists.

Animal Contraceptives

Although it is not widely heard of, birth control for animals does exist. For example, “[s]ynthetic

hormones can be administered to suppress fertility. Contraceptives consisting of progestin

(synthetic progesterone) are among the synthetic options” (“New Possibilities with Non-Surgical

Solutions” 1). However, one downside of these contraceptives is that they are only successful in

female dogs or cats. Another downsides is that “[t]hese products are not marketed in the U.S. but

[they] can be accessed form compounding agencies with a veterinarian’s prescription” (1). An

obvious advantage to this alternative is that no surgery is required. However, having said that,

one has to realize that this is not a one-time deal like spaying/neutering, and that it will be

ongoing.

Non-surgical Sterilization

In contrast to the previously mentioned animal contraceptives, is the option for non-surgical

sterilization? Whereas the contraceptives are for females only, non-surgical sterilization is only

for males. One form of non-surgical sterilization is Zeuterin™. “Zeuterin™ is a non-surgical

sterilant for male dogs delivered via intratesticular injection” (Weedon 1). One obvious

downside to this is that this alternative is only for male dogs. This still leaves female dogs and

male and female cats without this alternative as an option. An upside to this procedure would be

that because it is an injection, no surgery is necessary, and that it only has to be done once.

However, unlike spaying/neutering, which is for any dog or cat, male or female, of any age,
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Zeuterin™ “is presently [only] approved for male dogs between three and 10 months of age in

the U.S.” (1).

Euthanasia

While it is a controversial issue, euthanasia can be an answer to animal overpopulation. A lot of

people do not realize the amount of animals that enter humane shelters each year. As a matter of

fact, “[i]n the United States there are approximately 6.5 million dogs and cats entering animal

shelters yearly. Out of those, about 1.5 million are euthanized in shelters nation-wide”

(“Spay/Neuter…”). Euthanasia is the administration of the drug Euthasole by a certified

personnel, in order to take the life of an animal or human (Smith). Shelters across the nation have

to make the difficult decision to euthanize every day because of animal overpopulation. Due to a

lack of resources, such as funding, some animal shelters have a limited carrying capacity. In

order to make room for animals with a stray hold or with cruelty cases pending, shelters have to

euthanize animals that are sick, abandoned by owner, or whose stray hold has ended. Many of

the animals that are euthanized in shelters are litters of puppies or kittens. This can happen for

many reasons, some of which include the unavailability of foster families, or the lack of room in

the shelter itself. However, in most cases, shelters just do not have the space, or funds, to hold a

larger litter of puppies or kittens until they could be put up for adoption. To give more insight

into how expensive it is to take care of dogs and cats in a shelter, take a look at figure 1.

Method
All of the above information was found from reliable and credible sources that have extensive

knowledge about animals, specifically dogs and cats, and the care these animals need and

deserve. The primary information was found by handing out a random survey and also by doing

an interview with the Elmore County Humane Society Director, Kimberly Smith.
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Evaluation
While the many alternatives to spaying/neutering that were previously discussed would indeed

aid in dealing with animal overpopulation, some were better options than others. Euthanasia

works in decreasing animal overpopulation, but it is controversial and considered inhumane by

many people. Animal contraceptives are also a viable alternative to dealing with overpopulation,

but the fact that it is only for female dogs and cats limits its helpfulness. Also, it could become

very costly considering it is not a one-time procedure. Non-surgical sterilization would also be

useful in decreasing the dog and cat population, but it is only for one gender. Only males could

benefit from this option, which also limits its effectiveness.

Conclusion
Overall, spaying/neutering is the best option for dealing with animal overpopulation. It only

needs to be done one time, which is more cost efficient, and it can be performed on males and

females. Furthermore, “neutered male dogs live 18 percent longer than un-neutered males, and

spayed female dogs live 23 percent longer than unspayed females” (Fettig 1). So, not only would

this procedure decrease animal overpopulation, but it will also improve the life expectancy of

your pet at the same time.

Recommendations
Although all the alternatives are solutions to the overpopulation crisis, spaying and neutering

your animal is the best option. Unlike the contraceptives, you will only have to spay and neuter

once. This will save you money in the long run. Also, spaying/neutering is less risky and has

numerous benefits. It will also help to solve the euthanasia problem in shelters and save

countless animal lives. Spaying/neutering is expensive, but that is why it is crucial that people
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spread the word about financial help. To avoid the high cost associated with this procedure, it is

recommended to seek out a low cost spay/neuter facility. Many of these low cost spay and neuter

facilities exist. Alos, another recommendation is The Alabama Spay and Neuter Alliance, which

offers $10 spay and neuters to those who otherwise cannot financially afford it. Furthermore,

many shelters offer spay and neuter certificates. These certificates are given to those who already

own an animal and wish to have them spayed/neutered. They are used at a participating vet clinic

to reduce the cost of spay/neuter (Smith). Another recommendation would be to adopt from

shelters as often as possible. If the public chooses to adopt an animal from a shelter instead of a

breeder, they also save money because shelters do a mandatory spay and neuter prior to

adoption. By adopting you are also causing breeders to have a difficult time selling their puppies

and eventually smother them out of business. So after everything is said and done,

spaying/neutering is the best way to deal with animal overpopulation, and there are many options

out there to help with the cost to have this procedure done.
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Works Cited

“Feral Cats.” PETA, 2018, www.peta.org/issues/animal-comapanionissues/overpopulation/feral-

cats. Accessed 8 Nov. 2018.

Fettig, Art. “Pet Q&A.” North Jersey, NorthJersey, 21 Apr. 2017,

www.northjersey.com/story/life/pets/2017/04/21/pet-q/100622080. Web. 8 Nov. 2018.

Martin, Katelynn and Kelly Snyder. “Random Survey.” Survey. 15 Nov. 2018.

“New Possibilities with Non-Surgical Solutions.” ACC&D – Welcome to Alliance for

Contraception in Cats and Dogs, 2018, https://acc-d.org/available-products/progestin-

contraceptives. Web. 8 Nov. 2018.

“Parasites.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and

Prevention, 21 Feb. 2018. Web. 15 Nov. 2018.

“PetMD, LLC.” PetMD. Web. 15 Nov. 2018.

“Rabies.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and

Prevention, 5 July 2017. Web. 15 Nov. 2018.

Rowan, Andrew and Tamara Kartal. “Dog Population and Dog Sheltering Trends in the Untied

States of America.” Animals (2076-2616), vol. 8, no. 5, May 2018.

“Scabies.” Pets & Parasites by CAPC. Web. 15 Nov. 2018.

“Spay/Neuter Your Pet.” ASPCA. Web. 15 Nov. 2018.

Smith, Kimberly. Personal Interview. 10 Nov. 2018.

“The Pet Trade.” PETA, 2018, www.peta.org/issues/animal-companion-issues/pet-trade

Web. 8 Nov. 2018.

Weedon, Robert. “Zeuterin: The Non-Surgical Alternative to Neutering- Veterinary Medicine at


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Illinois.” University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, 25 May 2017,

vetmed.illinois.edu/zeuterin-the-non-surgical-alternative-to-neutering/. Web. 8 Nov. 2018