Spaying and neutering pets will help with animal control

Published 12:51 pm Friday, October 14, 2022

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Guest Columnist
Spay and Neuter your pets?
We have all heard it before, “spay and neuter your pets.” But why? Why should we do it? What’s in it for me? Well, it’s not you we are worried about; it is the community and the animals. But it is mostly the community that ends up having to take care of the excessive numbers of animals that we call pets — the cats and dogs.

Animals by the numbers.
In Carter County, there are so many homeless, abandoned, and lost animals that there are not enough resources to handle them. The animal shelter is full and has been full for a couple of years now. The latest estimate is that close to 1,500 animals come into the shelter in a year. Do the math — that is approximately 29 animals per week. Some are healthy and ready to be adopted. Many, however, require recovery time or holding time in the shelter. Some are sick and need recovery time, and others are awaiting court orders and can’t be released. Approximately 80% of the animals coming into the shelter are from the county, and 20% are from the city.

Your tax dollars.
The estimated shelter budget for the fiscal year 2021-2022 is $465,000. Only approximately $47,500 (barely more than 10%) of the budget comes from any revenue outside of government funding. Therefore, $417,500 is funded by your tax dollars. According to the MTAS Carter County/Elizabethton Animal Services Study, the share paid per citizen is $8.25.

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How can we maximize return on investment.
I took the numbers in a different direction and determined that the approximate amount paid per animal by the citizens is $278.33. If you reduce the number of animals coming into the shelter by 20% to 1,200 per year, the resulting $69.58 in savings could be used to give shelter employees wages equal to or better than flipping hamburgers, the animals could have more attention, and the shelter could provide more spay/neuter assistance. Not to mention that the shelter could provide assistance to help citizens struggling to keep their pets, thus keeping them out of the shelter in the first place. And that’s just 300 fewer animals per year!

How can you help?
Primarily, all you have to do is prevent new litters of puppies and kittens. If you are looking for a new puppy or kitten, there will still be plenty in the shelter to choose from.
• Don’t keep unaltered males and females in the same home/yard.
• Be mindful of your neighbors. Don’t let your animals out to potty except in a fenced area or on a leash. You don’t like it when strange animals come on your property, and others don’t like it when your animals visit their property.
• Make sure your fences are secure. There are tricks to keeping jumpers and diggers inside a fence, even for cats.
• Make sure you have an animal on a secure leash and have a good grip on the leash.
• Don’t dump unwanted animals. Either find them a new home or have the guts to have a veterinarian euthanize them humanely. Please don’t leave them to starve, dehydrate, or be mutilated by a car or wild animal.

It’s up to you.
Inevitably, taxes will go up, but they don’t have to go up because there are too many unwanted animals in Carter County. This is really up to you, the citizens.