February is national Spay/Neuter Month
For several decades local and national animal protection organizations have worked diligently and successfully to reduce the killing of homeless pets. In the mid-1970s, there were as many as 20 million cats and dogs euthanized every year in the United States. In 2012, those numbers dropped to less than 3 million.
This progress coincides with the increased access to low-cost spay/neuter services across the United States. For many families, basic veterinary care, such as spay/neuter and vaccinations, are simply out of reach both geographically and financially.
According to a national study, 53 percent of owners of unaltered pets surveyed said they had never seen a veterinarian before. Nonprofit spay/neuter programs, like the Yavapai Humane Society's Spay/Neuter & Wellness Clinic, have helped remove the barriers to veterinary care and increase general pet wellness. These programs introduce many pet owners to the importance of veterinary medicine.
American Veterinary Medical Association statistics, published in the AVMA U.S. Pet Ownership and Demographic Sourcebook, shows that beginning in 1987 and coinciding with the rapid expansion of low-cost spay/neuter and vaccination programs nationwide, the percentage of U.S. dog owners who seek regular veterinary care is up 13 percent, to more than 85 percent overall, and the percentage of U.S. cat owners who seek regular veterinary care is up 17 percent, to nearly 70 percent overall.
Additionally, a recent American Pet Products Association survey shows that in spite of the recession pet ownership is at its highest level in two decades; because more veterinary products and services are available than ever before, it is becoming increasingly easier to add another pet to your household.
The YHS Spay/Neuter & Wellness Clinic is often the first experience many people in our community have with a veterinarian. By providing spay/neuter and vaccination services to our community's pet owners they are better educated on the importance of having a long-term relationship with a local veterinarian.
The YHS Spay/Neuter & Wellness Clinic is able to provide the limited wellness services we do because of the generosity of our supporters and foundation grants. However, YHS does not provide lifetime care for pets. It is important that after your pet has been to the Wellness Clinic you follow-up with a visit with a local veterinarian. If you don't have a local veterinarian, please contact YHS for a referral.
Adding pets to households is the mission of the Yavapai Humane Society (YHS). Our motto is "We create happiness by bringing pets and people together." We understand that a pet owner with a relationship with a veterinarian is less likely to give up or abandon a pet than a pet owner without that relationship. YHS partners with 13 local veterinary hospitals and clinics in the quad-city area who graciously provide a complementary wellness exam to any animal adopted from YHS. All adopters are encouraged to immediately seek a local veterinarian for their pet(s).
Local veterinarians absorb the cost for this wellness exam because they are committed to helping ensure you and your new pet get off to a good start; so please thank your veterinarian for this kindness. The wellness examination does not cover injuries or illnesses that present after the adoption.
The YHS Spay/Neuter & Wellness Clinic is located at 2989 Centerpointe East in Prescott. Call 771-0547 today for a spay/neuter surgery appointment or information. Every Friday from 8 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 4:30 p.m., the Clinic offers low-cost vaccinations and microchips; and no appointment is necessary; first come, first serve.
In celebration of National Spay/Neuter Month, Papa Murphy's Pizza in Prescott is offering a free pizza to anyone who has their pet altered by YHS in February. Contact the YHS Spay/Neuter Clinic for details.
Ed Boks is the executive director of the Yavapai Humane Society. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 445-2666, ext. 21.