In the US, more than 50,000 puppies and kittens are born each day. For every pet with a place he can call home, there are 4 animals that are homeless, neglected, or abused. Many suffer and die needlessly from hunger, dehydration, exposure and disease or as a result of injury. Millions of these animals enter shelters and 30% - 60% of them have to be euthanized each year because nobody wants them – that is 4-6 million animals! In Oklahoma, more than 100,000 dogs and cats are euthanized each year. Two unaltered cats and their offspring can produce 420,000 more cats in 7 years. Two unaltered dogs and their offspring can produce 67,000 more dogs in 6 years.
In 2006, the Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association sponsored legislation for a Pet Overpopulation Fund. This animal welfare legislation allows the purchase of an Animal Friendly license plate as well as a check-off box for donations on the Oklahoma state income tax form. The funds generated in the Pet Overpopulation Fund are used for a statewide spay/neuter voucher program for low-income pet owners.
- The Animal Friendly license plates cost $36, and $20 of that goes into the program.
- This program is designed to pay for itself by providing reimbursement to veterinarians who perform these services.
- Between 2006 and May of 2009, 1800 Animal Friendly license plates have been sold.
- Statewide, veterinarians have performed 1800 spay/neuter procedures since this program began in 2006.
- Not only is having to euthanize animals repulsive to all who care about animals, but it is costly to the taxpayer. For every $1 spent by the taxpayer on spay/neuter, $3.23 is saved!
- If the number of animals euthanized could be reduced by 50%, it would save county and municipal governments approximately $2,500,000 per year. This means fewer medical expenses incurred for animal bites from strays, and fewer insurance claims from accidents caused by the unaltered animal’s desire to roam and fight. In fact twice as many males as females are injured or killed by automobiles.
- Healthier dogs. Female dogs spayed before their first heat face only 1% the risk of mammary cancer as un-spayed dogs. Even after the first heat, the risk is still only 8%. It eliminates the need to find homes for puppies. In neutered male dogs the hazard of testicle tumors is eliminated and it greatly reduces prostatic problems and perianal tumors.
- Healthier cats. In female cats, it reduces risk of mammary cancer to 1/7 that of un-spayed cats; eliminates infections of the uterus & medical expenses for kittens; and the need to find homes. It also eliminates howling and the desire to roam associated with heat cycles
How can owners apply for the low income sterilization program?
Applicants will have to obtain and complete an application form.
Donations to this fund may also be mailed to the:
Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, Animal Industry Division
2800 N. Lincoln Blvd.,
Oklahoma City, OK 73105.