February is National Spay – Neuter Month – startling statics on why it’s important

February 3, 2023 | BlogNews

IndyHumane encourages pet owners to adopt or spay / neuter their pet to combat pet overpopulation.

INDIANAPOLIS – February is National Spay and Neuter Awareness Month. With kitten season extending all year and shelter intakes up, spaying and neutering owned and community pets is more important than ever.

Newly released data from Shelter Animals Count1 shows that 4% more animals entered shelters than left in 2022. This is up from 2% in 2021 and is the largest gap in the past four years. This means more animals are entering and staying in the shelter than animals who are being returned to home or adopted.

Spaying and Neutering can help curb pet overpopulation. One female cat and her offspring can produce 420,000 cats in 7 years. One female dog and her offspring can produce 67,000 dogs in 6 years. Of these animals born, 23% will enter the shelter environment. That’s approximately 6.3 million companion animals that enter shelters like IndyHumane every year.

Overpopulation is a problem local shelters like IndyHumane are struggling with. Indianapolis’ municipal shelter, Indianapolis Animal Care Services (IACS), has been on emergency status since February 2022. To provide relief, IndyHumane transferred in 1,843 animals in 2022 from other shelters, including IACS. That is a 254% increase from the 519 transfers in 2021 and a big increase from the pandemic-impacted numbers of 2021 and 2020.

Shelter Animals Count also reports on the Population Balance Calculation (PBC) – the formula used to determine if a shelter’s population is increasing, decreasing, or staying the same. A score of 100% is equilibrium, or the number of animals leaving the shelter are equal to the number coming in. Below 100% means the population is increasing. A troubling trend is emerging. The national PBC for 2022 was 96%, which is lower than 2021 (98%) and 2019 (100%). IndyHumane’s PBC for 2022 was 81%. IndyHumane prevents thousands of accidental litters every year not only by spaying and neutering all animals prior to adoption, but also through providing affordable spay/neuter surgeries for owned animals, other shelter and rescue organizations, as well as grassroots organizations like Indy Neighborhood Cats. In 2022, IndyHumane performed 9,971 spay/neuter surgeries and has a goal this year to increase spay/neuter surgeries by 74% (to 13,000) by employing high-quality, high-volume techniques and hiring additional veterinary staff.

Spaying and Neutering is just one weapon to battle overpopulation. Shelters need adopters for all of the animals in their care.  To see animals available for adoption visit indyhumane.org

1  The information contained herein was derived from data supplied by Shelter Animals Count “Full Year Q1-Q4 Analysis, 2022”. Shelter Animals Count specifically disclaims all responsibility for any analysis, interpretations, conclusions and opinions contained in the information presented.