Michael and Joanne Parker's pets Shiela, left, and Choco, will live longer, healthier lives as a result of spaying. For more information, check the Web:, News & Events, Calendar of Events.

Pet owners should
take advantage of
Spay Day Tuesday

While humans mark Fat Tuesday on the 24th, for pets Tuesday is Spay Day, and pet owners might consider the health advantages of sterilizing companion animals.

There are no excuses for delaying procedures based on misconceptions that can be dispelled with facts:

Excuse: It's better to have just one litter first.

Medical evidence indicates just the opposite, and sterilized pets live longer, healthier lives. Spaying eliminates the risk of ovarian cancer and the potential for ovarian cysts. Spaying eliminates a female's risk of developing life-threatening mammary cancer and uterine infections. It also gets rid of the mess of the female heat cycle and the yowling or barking that go with it. Male cats and dogs, once they are neutered, can also avoid diseases associated with the prostate gland.

Excuse: I'll find homes for all the puppies and kittens.

Even if you do place your pet's litter in loving homes, each animal is still able to reproduce, adding more animals to the population. There are wonderful puppies and kittens (already sterilized) looking for homes now at the humane society and shelters across the state.

Excuse: I don't want him to feel any less of a male.

Your pet won't suffer an identity crisis when you have him neutered. Spraying and fighting will disappear in most male cats and dogs, making them more responsive companions. They will also be better neighbors.

Excuse: My pet will get fat and lazy.

Sterilization prolongs their lives, and they are less likely to roam, which means fewer fights, wounds, infections and streaking across busy roads in search of females. Most pets get fat and lazy because their owners feed them too much and exercise them too little.

Excuse: I want my dog to be protective.

Having your pet spayed or neutered does not affect a dog's instinct to protect home and family. The personality of your pet is formed by genetics and environment. After the surgery, your pet will be more focused on its family and less likely to bite.

Excuse: My pet is a purebred.

There are not enough homes for all pets born each year, whether they are purebred or mixed breeds. Many puppies sold by private owners or given away end up homeless after just a few months. Animals deserve to live a longer, healthier life as a result of being sterilized.

Excuse: Pet overpopulation is not my problem.

It's a fact that surprises many people, but one un-neutered cat and her offspring can produce 420,000 kittens in just seven years. And a single unaltered dog and her offspring can result in 67,000 puppies in six years.

Their ability to reproduce quickly has created pet overpopulation throughout the United States. By sterilizing your own pet, you will not inadvertently be contributing to the problem.

Excuse: The surgery is too expensive.

On Tuesday the Hawaiian Humane Society will join other animal welfare organizations worldwide by offering appointments for free spay and neuter surgery, with a coupon from the Feb. 18 issue of MidWeek.

A coupon within the ad can be returned by mail for free spay/neuter surgeries for pet dogs and cats. The society will perform as many free sterilizations as there are coupons returned by Tuesday. By return mail, pet owners will receive their surgery appointment, along with pre- and post-surgical guidelines. No telephone appointments will be taken.

Dogs must be at least 8 weeks old; cats must weigh at least 2 pounds. Pets without an ID will be provided with a microchip ID for $5 at the time of surgery.

Those who miss the free Spay Day offer can take advantage of the Neuter Now program, a low-cost spay/neuter option that is available all year long from the City and County of Honolulu. Using a Neuter Now certificate, the surgery costs $40 to $75, or just $20 for people with an EBT card.

Purchase a Neuter Now certificate at any satellite city hall or the Hawaiian Humane Society.

Last year, the Humane Society performed 8,584 spay and neuter surgeries. Neuter Now sterilizations totaled another 8,314 cats and dogs. Even though these numbers seem large, there is more work to be done.

"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. Call 946-2187.

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