I’ve been asked so many times, by reporters, by pet owners, by random people on the street who apparently can’t help themselves from talking to women dressed up as nurses handing out cat condoms on the streetcorner, “Why am I doing this?” By “this” I assume they mean my never-ending efforts to raise awareness of spaying and neutering, of pointing out the problem of pet overpopulation, or constantly working to prevent unwanted pet pregnancies and my vigilant promotion of my “Pet Sex Ed.” video series.
There is no easy answer, other than it’s a passion. I love cats. I love dogs. I love animals of all kinds, and it breaks my heart every time I see a story about an abandoned or abused pet. Every time I read the numbers of how many pets are wandering the streets or have been euthanized, I get angry. Here are a few statistics for you. Don’t worry, I know that numbers don’t translate well in print, so I won’t bore you with too many. But here are a couple of eye-opening facts you should know, as compiled by the Animal Assistance Foundation in Denver.
1. In Denver alone, 18-thousand cats were euthanized in 2009
2. Statewide more than 50-thousand cats and dogs were euthanized in 2009
Both of those numbers are expected to increase this year, and in 2011, 12, 13, and so on. The big question is, why? Why are so many loving cats and dogs being euthanized needlessly? Why are our shelters and clinics overcrowded with pets who should be in loving homes? Why are hundreds of thousands of cats and dogs wandering the streets? There is no one, single answer. Some people bring a puppy or a kitten into their homes and then abandon it as it grows older or too big. Some pets run away. Some are the products of bad ownership and become unruly or even dangerous.
But the biggest reason why we’re killing tens of thousands of animals every year in Denver alone, is because too many pets aren’t spayed or neutered. The question then becomes, why aren’t pets being spayed or neutered?
There are a myriad of reasons why pet owners might not get their cat or dog spayed or neutered. It’s too expensive, it doesn’t fit into my schedule, I just don’t want to do that to my pet. Listen, I understand. Times are tough. Finding extra money in the budget for a procedure that, to many, seems inconsequential can be difficult. But consider this.
In 2009, Denver taxpayers spent over FOUR MILLION DOLLARS to house, process, adopt or euthanize feral and homeless cats and dogs. Four million dollars. Think about it. And that’s just in Denver. Extrapolate that across the state and the number is staggering. That’s money that could be spent on schools, road upkeep, medical care, veterans benefits. Even if you don’t have a pet, even if you don’t even care for animals, you’re paying hard-earned money to deal with the pet overpopulation and shelter overcrowding issue.
I have poured my soul into educating folks about spaying and neutering. It’s a simple procedure that doesn’t harm the animal in any way. More importantly, there are a TON of high-quality, low-cost clinics that specialize in spaying and neutering. Really, it’s simple, convenient and affordable! That’s the entire reason why I’m here every day trying to spread the word. Because it’s not about me. It’s about all of those clinics out there working hard every day to spay and neutering pets and help prevent unwanted pet pregnancies. This is the only way we’re going to finally make a dent in the feral and homeless pet problem. It’s also the only way to reduce the number of cats and dogs being euthanized every year not only in Denver, but across the country. But it starts with us. It starts with you, right here, right now. Did you know that a single unfixed cat, if left unchecked, can result in nearly 150 new cats in only a single year? Multiply that by the thousands of unfixed feral cats on the street and, again, the number is staggering.
If you have a pet that needs to be spayed or neutered, go to my website, www.nursenancypresents.com and find a clinics near you. If you don’t have a pet, but you know others that do that need to be spayed or neutered, direct them to my Facebook page, send them a link of my video or to this blog or to the website. Even if you don’t have a pet and don’t even care for them much, you’re invested in this because it’s YOUR tax dollars being spent on this problem. Help me lower the number of feral and homeless pets and you’ll be saving your hard-earned dollars.
We’re all in this together. You, me, your friends and family, everyone. It would be wonderful to reach a point where we’re not euthanizing any cats or dogs because of overcrowding or overpopulation. It will take time, to be sure. But we have to continue to educate others about spaying and neutering. We have to let them know the consequences, not only to the lives of cats and dogs, but about the impact to taxpayers’ wallets. This effects everyone, pet owner or not.
So get on board and help me reach 1,000 friends and followers on Facebook. Help me grow my Twitter following (@nursenancysays) so I can continue to educate others. Help me get the message out that spaying and neutering is the ONLY way to prevent unwanted pet pregnancies and save taxdollars as well. Together we can do it. It’s a daunting task, but I won’t quit, and I know you won’t either.
So when I’m asked, “Why do you do it?” I answer simply…
“Because somebody has to, and it might as well be me!”