Spay, Neuter or Speuter?!?!

In the last week, we’ve seen a lot of GREAT emails on The Angels With Fur Listserve on this topic. Here are a few bits and pieces:

Amy started it with the following, ” various conversations have led us to understand that still many people do not know or understand about the necessity for spaying and neutering. Even a nurse had no idea females did not need to have puppies. “I can’t keep her. She’ll have puppies.” Honestly!! But that is the reality. They do not want to spend the money.

Question: Does ARK have any official signs I could buy or download or get to put around my neighborhood encouraging people to spay, neuter, vaccinate and keep through the final ending? The pet shop has a strange relationship with me because I love dogs but will never buy one. I did find a home for a mixed breed they couldn’t sell.

Something like “Neuter, Spay and Never let Stray.” I thought that was catchy but in English only.Feel free to use it if it is useful.

Good luck to you all and so happy to hear about the homes for kittens found. A neighbor woman just let her stray have a litter and asked my daughter if she had ever witnessed a birth. DD said, “Oh, no. We always take any animals to the vet to be fixed immediately. The babies are abandoned and too hard to find a family for and their lives are very short as strays. ” The woman, older, looked startled and changed the subject.”

David from JCN then jumped in and sent this to the group; “According to the Japanese group ALIVE, the incidence of spay/neuter is
about 30%… That goes hand in hand with the statistic
of those destroyed at animal control. I believe it is 85% of all
surrendered/destroyed animals in Japan are kittens and puppies.

A lot of myths, misinformation and refusal to look at facts exists on
spay/neuter, among vets, pet owners and the general public.
There is so much reluctance. We often ask why that is so; Is it
religious, historical, cultural.. etc etc ..? but I have come to
believe more simply it is because no one has every tried a real all
out campaign to promote spay and neuter. Not the Government, not
Hokenjo, not the vet association and not NPOs.

Ideally this kind of poster would be at vet offices as well. I think
if it were possible to get pro spay/neuter posters up at say 75% of
clinics, and hokenjos, we’d go from 30% to 40% spay/neuter in just one
year.

We have one poster we made on the benefits of spay/neuter. NekoDasuke
has good posters focused on the criminality of abandonment and abuse.
I have one poster from a group which highlights how hokenjo does not
use euthanasia. And I have a couple other good posters as well on spay
neuter. If you like I’ll send you some.

There are other simple ways to promote spay/neuter. Like when you meet
someone with their pet just ask if it has been spayed or neutered. Get
the word itself into the conversation. Make it ordinary/. Make it
normal.

“shujutsu wa futsu”

Brian from ThankDogs then jumped in with this; “I share your optimism, that it’s a matter of trying a variety of approaches
until one or a combination work.
What do you think about introducing a new word into Japan? “*SPEUTER” *an
agglomeration of spay and neuter. It’s used often in the U.S. and I’m
wondering if the curiosity and newness of the word might hold its own appeal
and perhaps eventual acceptance as part of the right campaign?”

Julie in Yokohama then gave us some great information; “Although the Ministry for the Environment has finally produced some rather striking posters reminding people that abandoning animals is a crime, there certainly doesn’t seem to be much encouragement to neuter or spay on a national level.

Yokohama, however, provides \7000 per cat for neuter and spay operations. Vets all over Yokohama have information on this campaign, and local ward offices run advertisements for it in June every year. Microchipping is also subsidized (\2000 per head), but only for animals with owners.

Subsidies are on a first come first served basis, so anyone in Yokohama who is interested should apply as soon as possible – last I heard there were still nearly 1000 available, but once they are gone, that’s it until next June. All you need to do is go to the hokenjo in your area and fill out a form. You can only get 2 forms at once, but once you have had 2 animals neutered, you can then get 2 more. Any resident over 20 can apply.

I don’t remember the figures off hand, but the number of cats destroyed in Yokohama since the campaign started has dropped dramatically.”

And, just today, Charles in Fukui added the following; “This is exactly what we need all over Japan. So much money has been pumped into the local governments from the national levels over the past two decades, if only a small fraction of that had gone into subsidizing spaying and neutering and awareness campaigns. It costs 10,000 to 15,000 yen to fix a cat here in Fukui, and if the female is pregnant, requiring abortion, the bill can run to 30,000 plus. So most people just avoid paying by avoiding the vets.

We need someone to take up at a national level advocacy of this issue.

Congratulations to Yokohama for showing how it could be done everywhere else.

In the US in some urban areas, the spaying and neutering campaigns are so effective (with TNR groups working their way through feral cat populations), that there is a shortage of cats for adoption in the shelters. They bring in cats from other places for those people who want to adopt.”

What do you think?

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1 Comment

  1. yamatoby

    Two more interesting emails to add to this interesting topic. Deena’s is first with the following story:

    The discussion on the list recently about spaying/neutering has been very interesting for me. I had lunch with three people at work who all have male dogs between one and three years old, and none of them had been neutered. I was rather shocked as in my family we have always spayed/neutered our dogs as soon as possible without really thinking about it.

    I asked each of them why they hadn’t neutered their dogs yet, and each had different reasons:
    1) “I don’t see why it is necessary.”
    2) “I don’t want to subject the dog to more anesthesia than necessary because I heard it could shorten his life.”
    3) “I don’t want my dog to be fat, and the pet shop where I bought my dog told me that if I neuter him he will get fat and it will be hard on his joints.”

    I told person 1 that if it were me I would think it is necessary because (among other reasons) it could calm the dog down and save him from having to deal with raging hormones. I told person 2 that I understood his concern, but that is another reason to neuter the dog while he is still young rather than waiting until he gets older and there is more anesthesia-related risk.

    I really had no idea what to say to person 3, though, because I had never heard this! I couldn’t believe that the pet shop would do the owner such a disservice as to discourage an owner from neutering… Has anyone heard this “neutering makes dogs fat” idea before? Is this specific to Japan?

    Sherri was the first to respond with this:

    The only thing that makes dogs fat is over feeding them and not providing enough exercise! Some people in the US also believe that male dog’s metabolisms slow down after neutering and that makes them fat. From what I have read there is no scientific proof to it, but some people believe that. Dog’s metabolism will slow down as they age and food should be adjusted accordingly. I have 3 neutered male dogs and none of them are fat.

    As to the anesthesia, I have never heard of it shortening an animal’s life. I can say from personal experience that neutering young saved my dog. Before going under anesthesia the vet does a blood test. Thanks to that test we found out that my dog has a liver problem. Through medication and diet we control that. He was able to be neutered after we got his liver enzymes down. Most vets here do not want to spay/neuter until the puppy teeth have all changed. The idea being that they only have to go under anesthesia once (if puppy tooth doesn’t come out then it has to be pulled later). Supposedly modern day anesthesia is safe. However, I don’t know what kind is used in Japan or if all clinics use the same type.

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