Low-Cost Spay and Neuter Clinics Are the Answer
Fewer Animals Will Die if the City Spays and Neuters More Cats and Dogs
New York City takes in more homeless cats and dogs than it can find homes for. In 2005, NYC Animal Care and Control took in 41,406 cats and dogs. Of those, 10,743 were adopted out; 6,840 were taken in by volunteer adoption groups; 1,409 were returned to their owners. The rest -- 22,414 -- were killed.
If we routinely take in more animals than we can place, our shelter will never be anything other than prisons where more than half the inmates wait to die. We can build more shelters, but that fact won't change.
The vast majority of dogs and cats Animal Care and Control takes in are domesticated pets - or the offspring of domesticated pets - abandoned largely because their owners could not afford to have them spayed or neutered.
The rescue and adoption community - both volunteer and professional - knows that the only way to significantly reduce the number of homeless pets is to offer low-cost spay and neuter surgeries to low-income pet owners.
And it costs far, far less to subsidize a low-cost spay or neuter - roughly $55 - than it does to take an animal into the city's shelters - $200, whether that animal ends up adopted or dead.
Yet, there is not a single low-cost spay and neuter clinic in the entire five boroughs of New York City.
Animal Friendly NYC is proposing a practical, affordable and proven solution that will save the lives of tens of thousands of animals a year and will save the city millions of dollars:
- Put a city-operated, low-cost clinic in each borough.
- Spay and neuter 20,000 dogs and cats a year.
We asked statistician Dr. Alexander Kiss, Manager of Research Design and Biostatistics for the largest research hospital in Canada1
, to project what effect those surgeries would have on shelter intake. The answers were stunning.
- We cut the intake of dogs and cats into city shelters by over 40% in the first year alone.
- We save the city $2 million in the first year - and that includes the costs of subsidizing the surgeries.
- With 17,500 fewer animals to place into homes, we drastically cut the number of cats and dogs put down.
In the following pages, we present the hard statistics that show how this works and why it is not only the most humane but also the most economical option for New York City.
1. Alexander Kiss, PhD, is Manager, Department of Research Design and Biostatistics, at Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Sciences Centre, and a Lecturer at the University of Toronto.