Unplanned litters are the main source of pet overpopulation, according to PetSmart Charities Rescue Waggin’ Program (petsmartcharities.org/rescue-waggin). “Imagine if every person living in New York City was actually a dog or cat,” says the organization, which partners with literally thousands of adoption groups across the country to help homeless animals get adopted. “That’s about the number of pets that will end up in shelters in North America this year. Of those 8 million pets, half will be euthanized. We lose 11,000 adoptable pets every day.”
It’s for that reason that the work of veterinary groups like the Shelter Medicine Program at Tufts, which provide low-cost spay/neuter, is so critical. It keeps stray dogs from producing multiple litters per year. Even non-strays contribute to overpopulation. Some 35 percent of dogs in U.S. households are not spayed or neutered.