The Furry Friend Population

Photo By J.T. Wampler
Justine Middleton, director of the Fayetteville Animal Shelter, points out features of the puppy room. Hundreds of local animals’ lives could be spared around each year if pet owners would spay/neuter pets at a young age.

By Claire Ala

Last year the Fayetteville animal shelter took in 4,500 pets. Most of these animals were taken in during the spring and summer months. Unfortunately, all these pets were not adopted. Shelter employees and advocates say if owners would spay or neuter their pets, then the number of dogs and cats left in animal shelters and without a proper home would decrease.

Everyone knows puppies and kittens are cute and cuddly, but in many cases pet owners can’t find homes for them, so they end up in shelters. What most people don’t realize, is it’s actually cheaper to spay or neuter pets, instead of raising puppies or kittens. Therefore, it’s important to fix your pets before ending up with an adorable, yet unwanted litter.

“As long as they are at least eight weeks and 2 lbs., they are ready to be fixed! There was a lot of old rhetoric about waiting until six months or after the first heat cycle, but those old myths have been put to rest by new studies and advancements in science. The last thing you want to do is put it off and end up with an unwanted litter. Also, spaying and neutering has even been shown to prolong the life of your pet,” explained Justine Lentz, Fayetteville Animal Services Superintendent.

It’s necessary to make pets a priority and spay or neuter them. The surgery will prevent pregnancy, as well as stop certain types of cancer. Spaying or neutering pets would also help the overpopulation of shelters.

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), approximately 5 to 7 million animals are placed into shelters nationwide, yearly. Of the 5 to 7 million, ASPCA estimates 3 to 4 million (60% of dogs and 70% of cats) are euthanized. Fayetteville is part of this statistic.

Twenty two percent of Fayetteville’s cats and dogs were euthanized last year. This percentage can easily be decreased if more pet owners would fix their four-legged friends. The surgery is affordable, and can even be free.

If you haven’t spayed or neutered your pet, Fayetteville Animal Shelter is holding a free clinic in February and March. The procedure varies in cost when done at the vet because it depends on the species, size, and sex. Normally, the animal shelter provides financial aid through their income-based program- accepted applicants pay $20. However, this February and March, there are three clinic dates where any city resident can make an appointment for their pet to be spayed or neutered at no cost.

Pet owners need to stop by the animal shelter with proof of (Fayetteville) residency, then staff will help set up an appointment for one of the three dates: Sat., Feb. 16, Fri., March 1, or Fri., March 15. The shelter plans to do a minimum of 30 surgeries per clinic. Dogs and cats are both welcome. If you make an appointment, then you’ll have the option to drop your pet off in the morning and pick them up later that day. There’s no need to delay because appointments can be made now.

Fayetteville Animal Shelter Contact Information can be found at or call (479) 444-3456.

Categories: Family Friendly