Today marks the anniversary of Spay Day USA, so we're issuing a reminder to all pet owners and potential pet owners to have their animals spayed or neutered.
With owning pets comes many responsibilities - providing a warm home, food and water, daily exercise and not adding to our communities' pet overpopulation problems.
With the growing numbers in pet ownership - some 74.8 million dogs are owned in the United States, while almost 90 million cats belong to someone - thankfully, many veterinarians and volunteers throughout the United States know the importance of spaying and neutering, and Spay Day USA, a Doris Day Animal Foundation national campaign, was created.
The day serves as an attempt to save the lives of homeless animals through the spaying or neutering of pets and feral cats.
Pet owners who neglect their dogs and cats by letting them run loose and refusing to have the animals spayed or neutered are a burden on their communities. Ultimately, area shelters become overrun with helpless, homeless animals.
Statistics show that two unaltered cats and all their descendents can theoretically number 420,000 in just seven years, while two unaltered dogs and all their descendents can theoretically number 67,000 in six years, according to information provided by the Humane Society of the United States.
Anyone visiting area dog pounds and animal shelters knows the many unwanted pets waiting to be adopted. Statistics have proven that most of these animals won't go to a new home and will be put down, as an estimated 5 million cats and dogs are killed in shelters every year.
Unfortunately some pet owners are reluctant to spay or neuter their animals, but animals as young as 6 months old can safely undergo the procedures, according to any veterinarian.
For pet owners who cannot afford to have their animals spayed or neutered, many shelters will provide financial assistance for the surgery.
Help is only a phone call away, and please remember, it's a pet owner's responsibility to help reduce the number of homeless animals - period.
Keep in mind, too, that anyone pondering adopting a pet should think long and hard about properly caring for an animal. Bringing home a puppy or kitten and deciding a few months later that the responsibilities are just too great means another homeless animal will go to an already overcrowded shelter.
Our pets provide unconditional love day in and day out, so it's only right that they deserve our attention.