Be a responsible pet owner, choose spaying or neutering

Who doesn’t love cute, furry animals?

Maybe too few people, actually. There are 11,000 homeless pets in Fayette County each year, according to a Kernel article on Monday. Many of those strays come from first-time owners who don’t realize the time and money it takes to raise a pet. Consequently, many pets are abandoned.

This point underscores the importance of not only knowing what is required of pet owners but spaying and neutering pets as well. Many stray pets that find their way to animal shelters are euthanized. The only way to keep the number of homeless pets at a minimum and keep many animals from being killed is with controlled breeding.

For many, including students, procedures like spaying or neutering add dramatically to the cost of owning a pet. It could cost anywhere from $50 to $300, said veterinarian Luther James in the Kernel article.

Luckily, the Lexington Humane Society is working to keep pets healthy for owners with small budgets. The organization’s Spay’s the Way program conducts the procedure at a discount, working to make it affordable for lower-income pet owners like college students.

Spaying and neutering pets doesn’t just prevent more strays and uncontrolled pet populations. Pets who have had the procedures typically live longer, healthier lives, according to the Kernel article.

Pets who do not have the procedure can express territorial behavior, aggression and personality changes. If female pets are not spayed, the animals can experience problems with infection during heat cycles and can develop problems with their reproductive organs as well as complications from pregnancy. Neutering a pet can also reduce the chance of cancer and prolong the animal’s life by two or three years. Recovery is usually quick, lasting a few days.

The Spay’s the Way campaign also provides rabies vaccination and city licensing. Pet owners can go to the Humane Society’s Web site

( to see if they qualify for the discounted service.

Spaying or neutering isn’t just a slogan embraced by Bob Barker. It’s a simple way to keep pets healthy and keep the homeless pet population low.