Should All Dogs in the Pound be Neutered Before Rehoming?
It is a sad fact of life in our society that there are unwanted dogs. Sometimes this is because their owner’s can’t cope with them anymore due to a change in circumstances. But often it is because of an unexpected litter of unwanted pups has been bred “accidentally”. The excess dog population ends up in the dog pound. The good news is that there are many people aware and willing to rehome dogs from the pound. The question that I think needs asking is, therefore, if dogs end up in the pound due to uncontrolled breeding, shouldn’t those same dogs be neutered before finding a new “forever” home?
Due to the fact that one bitch can produce litters with as many as 14 puppies, 3 times per year, it is theoretically possible that she can be responsible for hundreds of offspring in her lifetime. Mathematics like this would strain the resources of any local authority running any dog pound. It is because of this amazing fecundity of our domestic dog that we have dog pounds in the first place! Fortunately in the 21st century, veterinary medicine has rendered neutering a routine and efficient procedure. Neutering not only prevents unwanted litters, it can have other health benefits to the dog like a reduced risk of some cancers.
Given that neutering is commonplace, why do we have a problem of dog overpopulation in the first place? The answer is complex, but one part of it has to be that we are not neutering dogs early enough to prevent them having litters in the first place. Intervening early could prevent hundreds of unwanted puppies and save ratepayers the cost of kennelling for prolonged periods. One answer is to recommend to rehoming owners that they get their new family pet neutered. However this is already done, and with our busy lives it is easy to forget to perform this vital task before it is too late. A better answer is to automatically neuter all dogs in the pound PRIOR to rehoming. This would mean that every dog rehomed from the pound is guaranteed to be neutered. They would be ready to form part of new families minimizing any hassle for their new owners.
Compulsory neutering of pound dogs prior to rehoming is already law in several parts of the world. It has had a dramatic effect on reducing unwanted puppy litters in those countries. Perhaps it is time that this positive change for animal welfare happens here. Down District could lead the way in improving the lives of the dogs under our care.