Features February 2013 Issue

Risks and Benefits to Spaying and Neutering Your Dog

The growing debate over when – or even if – it is always best to spay or neuter.

When we talk about dogs, invariably we talk about dog people. The human desire to group things that interest us and build commonality among kindred spirits is hardwired– as is our tendency to segregate and highlight differences. As a result, dog people may identify as belonging to as many different canine communities as there are breeds. And within those “tribes,” we have mores, and values, and politics – and not all of them are compatible.

“Pediatric” spay surgery helps shelters adopt puppies quickly; this 12-week-old pup was spayed three days ago and is fully recovered and ready for adoption. But some experts worry that early spay surgery can cause health problems years down the road.

I belong to a tribe that is somewhat beleaguered these days: I breed and show purebred dogs. I screen my homes carefully. I have long legal contracts that require any dog of my breeding to be returned to me if he or she is no longer wanted, regardless of reason or age or health condition. And, of course, I require that all puppies that I sell as companions be spayed and neutered.

But in recent years, my attitude on that last score has begun to change, in large part due to new information about the potential for adverse effects of spay and neuter surgeries. My contracts still require those lovely and loved companions to be altered, and in more than a decade I have never had any reproduce (at least as far as I know!). But the details regarding when I want spay/neuter surgery done on my puppies have changed, and likely will continue to evolve.

Broaching the subject of delayed spay/neuter – and in the case of some males, perhaps not neutering at all – is the doggie equivalent of discussing Obama versus Romney at the Christmas dinner table, which gives me pause, because I let that happen last month, with predictably disastrous results. It has the potential of making people angry, threatened, bewildered, regretful – maybe even a combination of all those. That’s not my intent.

What I want to do, though, is open up dialogue on a subject that for a long time has been presented as black and white.

While no one questions the importance of spay/neuter as a tool to stem animal overpopulation, the questions on the table are: Does one size fit all? Should committed, responsible people review the facts and scientific literature to make an individualized decision for their particular dog? Is it always necessary to remove testes in a male dog and ovaries in a female dog in order to render them sterile, or are there other options? What are the real risks of keeping a dog intact for some period of time, balanced against a growing body of evidence showing that early spay/neuter might be implicated in a number of orthopedic, oncological, and even behavioral problems?

So many questions, and unfortunately, no clear-cut answers.

HISTORY LESSON
The American embrace of spay/neuter evolved in concert with human population trends. The post-World War II “baby boom” and economic expansion saw families increasingly bringing dogs and cats into their households – and the animals reproduced even more prolifically than the families themselves.

As cities (and later, rural communities) began to employ and then depend on animal shelters to deal with stray and unwanted pets, the population of animals concentrated in those facilities, leading to routine killing of excess dogs and cats. Spay/neuter was embraced enthusiastically by shelter workers and rescue volunteers alike as an effective tool for helping control the population of unwanted animals and reducing euthanasia. By the 1970s, the veterinary culture had also embraced surgical sterilization for population control.

This is in contrast to attitudes elsewhere in the world, particularly in many parts of Europe, where unaltered dogs are common. In Norway, it is illegal to spay or neuter a dog without a valid medical reason. The rationale is that it is morally wrong to surgically alter a dog for human whim or convenience, which puts spay/neuter on a par with ear cropping and tail docking.

Over the decades, as animal sheltering has increased in visibility and animal rescue has become more popular, spay/neuter has hardened into an almost militant social policy. Today, it’s widely a cultural norm for dogs to lack any physical signs of sexual maturation. I’ve had puppy buyers balk at the idea of a female’s silhouette being made “unsightly” by visible nipples, and I had a co-worker who almost threw up at the idea of testicles on a male dog. “Rubbing on my couch – ugh!” she proclaimed.

And, oftentimes, what we don’t know, we fear. “The average person has never seen a dog in heat, never seen dogs mating, never watched a female give birth, never watched her raise her puppies,” one veterinarian reminded me.

 

Next: THE MEDICAL PICTURE

Comments (20)

I am confident that no one here thinks the euthanasia rates are acceptable, or tolerable. There is disagreement over justification, but there doesn't need to be.

Posted by: Chicago | July 11, 2014 5:37 PM    Report this comment

Unfortunately, yet understandably, nearly every single comment posted here so far has focused on the black & white side of what the author addressed. Only ONE of the comments included the word "ovaries" and no comment mentioned hormones. It has turned into somewhat heated discourse over animals left unaltered.

As the article stated, there are other options for sterilization besides conventional spay/neuter. I would never consider having my ovaries removed as a method of birth control, because I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be healthy for various reasons. And, it's presumptuous and outright arrogant to say that anyone should be ashamed for suggesting that we not impose such practices on everyone. I decided to not spay my dog, after having altered so far 5 other dogs in my life, because I believe she will be healthier for it, and it is in the best interest of her & her family (me & my kids).

I have been wanting to get a 2nd dog for some time now, and wish I could adopt an adult or adolescent shelter dog (a mutually beneficial situation.) However, I have yet to find a shelter that is willing to adopt a dog out to me! Five of the shelters have said they won't adopt out because my dog is not spayed. (They also had issues with me not wanting to do yearly vaccinations, which I unwillingly had done, only to be turned down anyways because of not spaying.)

I am confident that no one here really thinks the euthanasia rates are acceptable, or tolerable. There is disagreement over justifications from each point of view. But there doesn't need to be.

Back to the article - What I want to see happen more quickly are more & more vets willing to perform ovary-sparing spays and vasectomies. I live in Chicago proper, and there are zillions of vets in the area. But the only one I have found who does an ovary sparing spay is over 3 hours away. There are a few who do a laproscopic ovariectomy (ovaries removed & the uterus remains ) but I want the uterus out to prevent pyometra, and the hormone producing ovaries to be left alone. Every vet I have spoken to pushes the mammary tumor claim. No one has really even wanted to discuss it much. On a side note, I hadn't considered or read anything about ovaries shutting down in the absence of a uterus.

Posted by: Chicago | July 11, 2014 5:36 PM    Report this comment

I have an intact purebred bitch, we show but I won't be breeding. I expect to spay her by 3-4 years of age. I am the rescue coordinator for our breed club in our state. To alter a dog before maturity offers increased cancers and orthopedic issues. My male is neutered and at about 2 1/2 years. New studies indicate many benefits to not spay/neuter of puppies. You must be responsible as if that's impossible don't have a pet!

Posted by: Barb D | March 23, 2014 12:20 AM    Report this comment

Great Article. Actually, when the Am4r8ican Miniature Schnauzer Vluv was doing test breeding (to rid themselves of congenital juvenile cataracts) about 40 years ago, and selling pet dogs without AKC papers, explaining these dogs carried congeni9tal blindness & were not to be bred---but found these pet buyers were looking for pet dogs to bre3ed to, they started experimenting with early neutering A& it caught on. the problem remains the backyard breeders---who will always be under the radar (unless you regularly check out Craigslist & kijiji).

Posted by: RobynM | March 22, 2014 1:05 PM    Report this comment

We have trained border collies in 4H and over the last 20 years I have raised and trained Akitas' (all of which have be "therapy dogs". None of which have been neutered. I really think the individual has to make a dog-bye-dog decision. However, unfortunately, most aren't educated enough on the process and just "regurgitate" what they have been told or taught in school.. yes, I'm pointing out the DVM's and techs. I'm sort of on the fence... I DO think that the gov needs to step in and regulate this. But also that more efforts need to be made to shut down puppy mills and selling of dogs in pet stores!!! I think this fuels the supply of unwanted animals. But also think that NO animal should be "altered" under 18 months. It does more harm than good in the long run. And just on a side note.. if you can't afford to buy from a legit breeder or rescue and pay for the vaccinations and surgery on your own... FLAG... you probably don't have the funds, time or means in general to care for an animal in your home!

Posted by: Akita Krazy | February 3, 2014 8:50 AM    Report this comment

As someone who has assisted with a rescue on a reservation that has an estimated dog population of 15,000 and has closely worked with reputable breeders, I ask this question: is there a right answer? Can you look a dog in the eye in a shelter or who is living the life of luxury and say you are better than the next dog? Shame on you if you can. Shame on everyone for judging an animal based on its health problems. My mother in law has terminal brain cancer. Her mother died of the same thing at the same age, 49. I do not look at her with any anger over the tens of thousands of dollars being spent on her care. The same goes with a dog. It is not its fault that it was born with whatever predispositions it may have whether being intact or not. The point is to love our pets/family and to do right by them. Some may think it is barbaric to open someone's head and remove part of the brain to conserve life. Others look at it as doing what they can to save the same life. The important part is the purity of the heart. Are you TRYING to do right by your pet?

The reservation I spoke of earlier does an annual round up. They pick up dogs for 48 hours and bring them to certain area and shoot them. The average annually is 600 dogs. They now are letting rescuers come in and save those dogs. Maybe overall keeping dogs intact is the BEST thing to do healthwise. On that reservation, that number would rise dramatically. The mortality rate there for puppies is over 90% I would rather save 600 lives each year and risk other medical problems perhaps happening. Those dogs at least got to live and experience love. Isn't that what it should be about? Saving lives and changing lives for the better. Shame on anyone that would rather go to a reputable breeder due to the possibility of vet bills. If you don't want to spend money, no matter the amount on your pet, then don't have one.

Posted by: Abby L | June 21, 2013 9:19 PM    Report this comment

I love you Bronwyne. As a medical professional I am seriously doubtful about the list of cancers and other illnesses that the author of this study has somehow linked to spay/neuter. Apparently leaving your dog intact is better than snake oil and will ward off everything from cancer to hypothyroidism. It does not surprise me that there are studies showing the opposite outcome for each claim that are easily found. Intact males are more difficult and aggressive. Denying this initially made me laugh, then sent all credibility for the rest of her claims to the moon, and finally showed just how clearly Dr Zink has an agenda.

Posted by: Laurie | March 21, 2013 12:38 PM    Report this comment

I have rescued/taken in & bought from breeders. I am on my 12 German Shepherd and if I had the choice of adopting/taking in a GSD compared to buying from a good breeders around 8 1/2 weeks I will always go with the breeder. I am not novice to dog problems/aggression because people have not socialized their new puppy as they should of. But I will never take in another dog that didn't get the proper introduction into life because the BYB don't know what they are doing. Get rid of the Petstores that buy from puppy mills and you will have lett dogs in pounds. Leave it to the professional breeders and let them do what they do best which is breed a good blood lines trying to improve the breed.

Posted by: CYNDY R | March 21, 2013 12:26 PM    Report this comment

Thank you Denise for the excellent article. While I remain a strong supporter of spay/neuter initiatives, it is truly time for reform. I adopted my mixed breed grrl from a shelter, and dutifully had her spayed at 6 months.

Apart from the life-long mortal fear of vets that resulted, a baffling array of health problems began piling up for us, from vaccine reactions, atopy, food allergies, to hip dysplasia, arthritis, hypothyroidism, and now at 12 years, Cushings. Despite our mutual love for agility, we had to quit way too early. My special pup has been a crash course on the limits of conventional veterinary medicine, and I am certain she would not be enjoying life today if not for my forays into alternative and holistic health.

The irony is that, as a (human) reproductive health and population specialist, I think I should have known better. Such is the power of dogma. I cannot fathom the heartbreak that shelter workers and other rescuers endure, but I also know that lack of spay/neuter is far from the only reason (and probably not the main reason) for abandoned animals. Further, a simplistic message that spay/neuter is 100% safe and beneficial not only lacks credibility, but raises a number of ethical red flags. Embracing the wisdom and principles of informed consent would be one approach to a more credible, respectful, and effective approach to spay/neuter campaigns, one that can encompass concern for the health and welfare of individual animals.

Posted by: jes | February 15, 2013 8:36 PM    Report this comment

This is a very controversial topic. I sympathize with the shelter staff and all of those who try to help these dogs and cats. The animals at the shelter are not and were not companions (aka pets). They were property. And with our society being a throw away/ disposable society those animals were discarded. These animals for the most part were not the result of responsible breeders. I have taken in many dogs and cats from their prior owners. I have only adopted one kitten from the shelter. That kitten cost me $1,200 to have her hips removed due to a genetic bone disorder. My current dog is an Australian Labradoodle. I did a lot of research on the breed and the breeder. He is the best dog I have ever had. I had to work very hard with the breeder to allow me to take possession of this puppy without early neutering. I did this because I could see the importance of having him neutered later. I would not want this opportunity taken away from me. On the flip side, it is important that we find a way to get people to understand why they need to act responsibly and not add to the overpopulation of unwanted animals. There needs to be a combination of regulation and education. It would best best if the responsible breeders could come up with a way to distinguish themselves from those that are not and then using that find a way to regulate/penalize those who have litters without being a responsible breeder. Here's an idea. How about we allow dog and cat meat to be sold for consumption. Now I expect that every one who is a responsible pet owner is probably feeling ill about now. But hear me out. What if it was common knowledge that unwanted animals given up or found as strays are sent to food processing plants. 8 million animals a year is a lot of food. Now instead of thinking that shelters will redone your unwanted throw away animals, it becomes common knowledge that they are going to be killed and processed into food products. Do you think that would deter people from allowing these animals to reproduce? I can tell you that folks who turn animals to the shelter disillusion themselves by believing that their animals will be adopted. Eliminate the adoption aspect of the shelters altogether and see if that curbs the production of these animals. I can tell you that general spay neuter policies do not seem to be working. Maybe we should try a different approach.

Posted by: Remysmom | February 3, 2013 6:48 AM    Report this comment

The only way that spay and neuter can maker a dent in pet overpopulation is for the federal govt.to pass a law that requires "all" pets throughout the country to be spayed and neutered. I don't see this ever happening, besides that would be species genocide. I don't call that a solution.

Posted by: dogdaze | January 27, 2013 12:25 PM    Report this comment

Bronwyne, I do not think you are an idiot, you just think differently about this than I do. Bless you for what you do i think it's awesome. My current dog is my 3rd dog. all of them intact males. None ever have had the what is reffered to as typical health problems associated with this. Before anything else I guess i should mention this topic (spay, neuter) is really not that big a thing with me. I very much study the holistic side of dogs health and behavior. Spay or neuter is really little more than abortion. your for it or against it. I'm sure there is nothing I can say or you can say that would change either one of our minds on the topic. old school holistic well being is founded on the "entire" animal. Not removing things randomly to appease my or any other standard. You start removing things and the dog becomes unbalanced. As far as someone with or without their dog walking by me it doesn't matter. I have stopped countless dogs comming at my dog, 2 at once on 3 occassions. You no what, that makes me god like in my dogs eyes and he never even reacts to the aggression. I am not beating these dogs to stop them, in fact 95 % of the time I just hold out my hand stare them straight in the eye using (the look) and they stop and walk away. A few I have had to hit with an open hand in the neck to divert them then they slink away. You should see the look my dog gives me when this happens. I swear he smiling and me and swear to god once he grinned and winked at me. as i said I know shelters very well. The dogs that came in were mostly Staffs, Am Staffs, (aka pit bulls) and beagles. The people there try but are woefully understaffed and the volunteers are extreamly uneducated on dog behavior.

Posted by: dogdaze | January 26, 2013 6:59 PM    Report this comment

Thanks for your kind words, dogdaze, but my issue is that you are only thinking of your dog. When your dog prances past a not-so-great owner with a pit bull he is considering breeding for nefarious purposes then what message does he get from you? Do you tell him that you are somehow better than him? There are no guarantees that in the 13 year lifespan of a dog that he is not going to get out one day and impregnate the neighbor's dog. The reason spay and neuter doesn't work is because it is not policed - and it is in other developed countries. I recently rescued a 4 pound very senior Maltese male blind with painful glaucoma, hernia, and needing most teeth removed. I know the breed and no doubt he was used to breed. He insanely humped everything when I brought him home and triggered terrible problems with the other dogs. When his dental was performed prior to his bilateral enucleation, there was no doubt in my mind (or the vet's) that we would neuter him. His blood work was great and his heart was checked by a cardiologist. The very night after the neuter was performed he ceased the manic humping and used his energy to map my home and engage with me and the other dogs. Another dog I recently rescued with bladder stones was extremely sexually pent up and he tried to mount all the dogs in my home, smothering the blind dog and when I went to pull his 12 pound body off the 4 pound blind dog he redirected his sexual aggression to my hand (nasty bite.) At the time of his bladder stone surgery he was neutered. The mounting (and aggression) stopped immediately. I have many dogs come through my home and I have a pack of six special needs with one foster on rotation. I have had many cases of pulls from shelters with advanced mammary tumors, testicular tumors the size of tennis balls on an 8 pound dog, and many many cases of pyometra - all dumped in the shelter in a horrible state. One beagle had a tumors like two footballs that dragged on the ground and she was lactating and had mastitis. A breeder had one more litter out of her before he/she dumped her. I have pictures and videos of all these dogs if you want to see them. I have seen way too much to trust that people will do the right thing - I don't trust people anymore. I don't trust breeders anymore because I have been doing rescue enough to know what happens when the breeder gets sick or goes belly up. It's the 'idiot' rescuers who step in and pick up the pieces. When you start to turn the life of an animal into a business venture (all breeders) you lose perspective. Of course you can say that you are different, that you are responsible and that you love even those puppies that are born with congenital defects. What else are you going to say? If you truly love dogs then you will use your skills and love for dogs to help stem the horrible slaughter that is taking place right now in the USA. The thoughtless destruction of our companion animals is out of control and getting worse and to write an article right now suggesting that we weigh our options with spay and neuter when it comes to trying to curb more being born just makes me sick. Again, I beg any of you who think that mandatory spay and neuter is passe come and visit LA and I will show you the hopeless situation for dogs in our shelters and on the streets in impoverished areas and then tell me what your ideas are. I have no doubt that you will be like me when I moved from Australia 10 years ago and experienced the problem - you will cry your eyes out, your heart will palpitate and you will scream "save our pets from us!!!!

Posted by: Bronwyne M | January 26, 2013 2:38 PM    Report this comment

Bronwyne, I applaud your effort for sure. The numbers you posted give a realistic glimps to what is going on You said 8 million dogs and cats are euthanized every year. You claim to have saved over 60 dogs from this fate. You are an extraordinary person for doing somthing about this problem ! Really, i mean that. Now lets look at the numbers. Even if there were a thousand other people like yourself who went way above the norm of what most people try to do, that would be 60,000 dogs saved. That still leaves 7,940,000 dogs lost every year. I have a 13 yr. old intact male english springer spaniel. If I neuter him will the pet population problem be solved ? Probally not ! Will it have negative side effects on him ? without a doubt. You mention the woman in your post who let her (outdoor cat) roam to get pregnant. There is the problem. I would say 99.99999% of unwanted pregnancies of dogs and cats are from this action. There is no disputing this. This is the problem. I have solutions but wont post them because they would never happen in our society. They would involve new laws. Iforgot to mention i saw at the end of the original article a name Denise Fliam who lives with 3 intact ridgebacks. You rock denise ! I bet the lions stay away from your house ! Ha ! Ha !

Posted by: dogdaze | January 26, 2013 11:39 AM    Report this comment

I write this to the person who responded: "Years from now dog owners will look back at what we are doing to dogs and shake their heads in disgust ! On the overpopulation side of a reason to do it, ummm, this has been going on for many "YEARS" now. How's that working out ? Idiots!"

As an Australian living in Los Angeles I can tell you how it is working out. In Australia we have always had a culture of spay and neuter and you can see a HUGE difference. When I walked into an Los Angeles shelter for the first time I thought I was in the 3rd World. If you go to Lancaster shelter you will see a line of people surrendering litters and some have a dog under each arm - those dogs are not getting out of there. Today in Hollywood, friends finally captured two unfixed Jindos that have been roaming dangerous traffic for six weeks - where was Animal Control? completely overrun. If you don't believe in spay and neuter then how do you suggest we help the 8 million dogs and cats euthanized every year in our shelters? 25 percent of the dogs that enter shelters are purebred. I suppose this Australian citizen is an idiot for having saved over sixty of American dogs from death row. It has certainly crushed my spirit to see the death and destruction of so many sentient creatures. To insult those who are trying desperately to give a chance to just one abandoned dog is the very definition of disgusting. You seem to offer no other solution to the problem - and perhaps you are a part of the problem. I'm proud to be an 'idiot.' I will carry the kisses of those gorgeously grateful abandoned dogs with me in my heart for the rest of my days. My neighbor's tabby cat was pregnant and I asked her why she never had the outdoor cat spayed. She said that she wanted to show her son 'the miracle of life.' I told her I would take her son to South LA Shelter and show him all the boxes of kittens brought in without open eyes, gasping for milk, bellies swollen with parasites - not enough volunteers to bottle feed. I suggested her son could witness the miracle of death to balance his world view. The shelters that are most overrun in LA and LA County are in low income areas where there is little practice of spay and neuter. The facts are out there and I would be happy to walk you through Lancaster Shelter or try Bakersfield.

Posted by: Bronwyne M | January 25, 2013 3:03 PM    Report this comment

I volunteered at our local shelter for 3 years, saw lots of dogs come and go, you can spay and neuter all you want it will not stop. The problem is the owners plain and simple. But there are things going on at shelters , at least the one i went to that are just plain wrong. A 14 year old beagle was brought in one day by it's owner. She was surrendering it because it had cancer. Really !!! Umm if you have a dog for 14 years and you bring it to doggy jail because it has cancer you are a sick and demented individual. anyway i took this dog out for a run in the pen outside. she had tumors like i have never seen before. very large on the inside of her back legs, more along her back and neck. the dog was a mess. What i really noticed about her was she didn't seem to be in any pain, and was probally the sweetest dog i had ever seen there. about 2 weeks later she got adopted ! I couldn't believe it ! I went in and she was gone. I asked up front what happened to her (figuring she got put down) and the girl said she got adopted ! I was so surprised and happy ! Then she said yeah she is getting spayed tommorow , then she's going to the new owner. I looked at her and said what ? Your going to spay that dog. Yes "all" dogs are spayed or neutered before leaving. I looked at her and said are you serious. she looked surprised by my comment and i just walked away before i said somthing offensive. This dog was on deaths doorstep probally physically incappable of becomming pregnant, and if she did get pregnant it would have killed her for sure. and yet this vet hacked out her ovaries anyway. So much for the "DO NO HARM" oath. I have had 3 male dogs, none were neutered my current boy is 13 yrs. old and i never have nor ever will hack nuts off a dog. the behavior side of it. i love every challenge that comes from having an intact dog from my dog or any other dog with my dog. I live for that challenge, and hope to someday do it as a job.

Posted by: dogdaze | January 24, 2013 5:15 PM    Report this comment

Well, i am glad to see reading the article that a licensed medical person finally questioned this practice. I will make a statement first, Years from now dog owners will look back at what we are doing to dogs and shake their heads in disgust ! On the overpopulation side of a reason to do it, ummm, this has been going on for many "YEARS" now. How's that working out ? Idiots ! I would love to see the massive cannine reproductive organ gutpile our society has created. Now for all the shelter volunteers and workers out there who wish to stare down their noses at me,

Posted by: dogdaze | January 24, 2013 4:52 PM    Report this comment

Good and thoughtful article; thank you for sharing it.

When I adopted my first dog (a pediatric neuter at 4 months old), dog sports were not on my radar. He'd never have been an agility prospect anyway -- an old injury from his first owner eliminated any chance of that ever happening -- but even in the much-less-demanding Rally ring, I can see where the effects of his pediatric neuter make things more difficult for him.

Keeping an intact dog isn't for everyone, and because we live in the city and are reliant on dog parks for off-leash exercise, it probably won't be for me. But next time around, I'm certainly waiting until my future dog goes through puberty before having him fixed.

Posted by: Jennifer A | January 23, 2013 4:12 PM    Report this comment

While I have to accept the fact that people will continue to breed purebreed dogs for the show ring, I don't think that this is beneficial for the species as a whole. There are so many good dogs looking for homes that I honestly see no reason why anyone should breed dogs, regardless of the reason. The status of owning a purebred dog inevitably means that randomly bred mixed breeds are considered inferior by the general public. As such, somewhere in the neighborhood of six million dogs per year, the vast majority of them young and healthy, are euthanized because they are simply unwanted. Breeding reinforces the notion that some dogs are worthy, others are not. Before purebred dogs became status symbols there were no puppy mills, and comparatively few unwanted dogs. Until the shelters are empty no one should be breeding more dogs; each new puppy born is a death sentence to a shelter dog. And people are so irresponsible in our throw-away society that it is folly to trust that people will spay and neuter their pets to prevent additional litters. Better to spay and neuter them earlier and try to get a handle on the numbers of dogs put down each year (and cats too, it goes without saying).

Posted by: kimfatty | January 22, 2013 5:07 PM    Report this comment

Walk into an LA shelter or and LA County Shelter and you will see what happens when the 'choice' to snip is left to pet owners. People carting boxes with eight pit bull or chi puppies - puppies that will catch kennel cough and put to sleep. To even suggest that we ponder what is best for one pet while thousands of bodies pile up at the shelters is so reckless I'm gobsmacked. If just one person reads this article and an accidental litter comes into the world because of it then, Whole Dog Journal, you are no friend to dogs. I can assure you that most of those puppies will not live out their life with home prepared meals. The number of dogs killed in California shelters and housed in terrible conditions while waiting their cruel fate is so staggering that to spay or not to spay pondering is a joke - a cruel joke when the argument is lumped in with a debate on vaccinations or raw vs. commercial - as if these debates were in the same category. Your 'breeder' tribe is beleaguered because you think that you are somehow not a part of the problem... but you are. The world needs more puppies like it needs more assault rifles. Please spay and neuter - as someone who rescues from shelters - I beg you to.

Posted by: Bronwyne M | January 22, 2013 4:17 PM    Report this comment

New to Whole Dog Journal? Register for Free!

Already Registered?
Log In