Battling pet overpopulation: 'They end up at the shelter'

EUGENE, Ore. -- Shelters and rescue groups in Lane County are overwhelmed with an influx of animals, and officials say it is because a staggering ammount of dogs and cats aren't spayed or neutered.

Diane Bolte-Silverman, a representative with Stop Pet Overpopulation Today, said shelters report there are over 40,000 un-spayed and un-neutered dogs in the county.

"There are too many animals that end up being abused, neglected, abandoned," said Bolte-Silverman. "They end up at the shelter. The shelter does try to find homes for them, but again there aren't enough homes for all those cats and dogs."

Stop Pet Overpopulation Today (or SPOT) president Joey Curtain said the sterilization surgery is very low-risk, adding that "fixed" animals avoid some major health risks.

"They tend to be happier, healthier, live longer, they bond better with their people," said Curtain. "Male dogs are more prone to prostate cancer, female dogs are very prone to breast cancer There are a lot of health issues that just go away if you have your animals fixed."

SPOT provides financial assistance to those unable to afford the cost of spaying or neutering their dogs.

Similarly, the non-profit Willamette Animal Guild clinic specializes in proving low cost veterinary services to the community. They average around 5,000 surgeries a year

If every family took home a dog or cat today, there would still be six times more pets in America than there are homes. The first step to solving this problem, representatives of both groups say, is to spay and neuter.