Dogs and cats adopted at the Hawaiian Humane Society are sterilized before going home with their new families. Winning a full-page spot as the featured pet in the society's 2004 Pets in Paradise Calendar is Miki, an adorable 12-year-old dog who was adopted by Loriann Hong.

Do your part
to fight

The biggest problem facing animal shelters today, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, is pet overpopulation. There are not enough homes for all the cats and dogs born each year.

Animal reproduction can only be controlled by responsible humans who have their animals spayed or neutered. Sterilizing your pets shows respect for life and helps the community achieve the goal of a home for every animal. This simple surgery is affordable and available for Oahu dogs and cats through the Neuter Now program. The City and County of Honolulu, the Hawaiian Humane Society and many Oahu veterinarians cooperate to provide low-cost sterilizations.

You may have heard that this program was being revised last summer. The Honolulu City Council changed the price structure for Neuter Now, but it is still an excellent, low-cost solution to pet overpopulation. While spay (for females) or neuter (for males) surgery can cost several hundred dollars, the procedure is made more affordable through the purchase of a Neuter Now certificate. This small fee typically covers everything from the pre-surgery exam, anesthesia, the surgery and removal of stitches, if needed.

A $20 Neuter Now certificate for a dog or cat is available to low-income residents with an EBT (electronic bank transfer) card. Neuter Now certificates for other Oahu residents is $40 for a male cat, $50 for a female cat or male dog, and $75 for a female dog.

Your veterinarian may participate in Neuter Now, or you may choose another from a list of 30 veterinary clinics and hospitals. Your pet (and you) will enjoy many benefits from sterilization. Review the points below, and call your veterinarian if you have any questions.

As more Oahu pets are sterilized, the humane society's goal of finding a home for every companion animal becomes a reality.

Those living on neighbor islands should check with their humane society about sterilization programs. On the Big Island, call 808-329-1175; on Kauai, call 808-632-0610; on Maui, call 808-877-3680.

Six good reasons for Neuter Now:

1. Sterilized pets are healthier and live longer, happier lives. Spay surgery eliminates a female's risk of developing uterine cancer or infections and reduces her chance of developing mammary cancer. Neutered male dogs and cats rarely suffer from diseases of the prostate or testicular tumors. Neutered male dogs and cats are less likely to roam and therefore are less likely to get hit by cars, get into fights, get injured by other animals or get lost.

2. Your pet will be a better companion. Male cats are not as likely to spray, and male dogs are not as likely to mark territory or urinate in the home. Spaying a female dog or cat eliminates heat periods, confinement, the discharge of blood and the odor that attracts males. Sterilized cats and dogs make better neighbors.

3. You will help to reduce pet overpopulation. Lost, homeless and abandoned cats and dogs arrive every day at the Hawaiian Humane Society. Sterilization avoids adding to pet overpopulation.

4. Sterilized dogs are less likely to bite. Statistics show that neutered dogs are about one-third less likely to bite. Sterilization does not affect a dog's ability to be a good "watchdog." Because they are not searching for a mate, they are able to focus on their human families.

5. It's the law for cats allowed outdoors. The cat protection law states that all cats 6 months or older allowed outside are required to be spayed or neutered. For more information on pet laws, visit the Animal Related Laws section at the Hawaiian Humane Society's Web site,

6. It's inexpensive and easy. Certificates for those with EBT cards can be purchased in person at the Hawaiian Humane Society or any satellite city hall. Other Oahu residents can purchase a Neuter Now certificate in person or get a certificate by mail or fax; request an application by phoning 946-2187, ext. 227, and leave your name and address or fax number on the voice mail. Or, download the application from the Web and mail or fax it to the Humane Society. Then call any of the 30 participating veterinary clinics and hospitals for an appointment. Your certificate must be used within three months of its issue date.

"Pet Ohana" runs the first and third Fridays of the month. The Hawaiian Humane Society is a nonprofit agency dedicated to preventing cruelty to animals. They are at 2700 Waialae Ave.


Pictures with Santa Paws

Photographer Stan Wright will take holiday photos of families and their pets in the garden at the Hawaiian Humane Society from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Pets can be dressed in accessories on hand such as reindeer antlers or leis, or bring your own cheery holiday attire. For $20 you'll receive four photos and four negatives in one pose from Fujifilm Hawaii, mailed to you in plenty of time to order prints for holiday cards.

No appointment is necessary. For more information, call 946-2187.

Dress up your pet and head to the Hawaiian Humane Society on Saturday or Sunday for a family holiday photo.

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