Monday, February 15, 2010

Will Dogs and Cats Go Extinct?

One of the frequent questions we get in the classroom is "if we spay/neuter all the pets, won't they go extinct?" We also hear this from people at community events when I staff an educational table. It's one of the frequent excuses for not spaying or neutering a pet. They think they are being smart pointing out to us that the species will die out so they are actually doing a good thing by breeding their mutt.

There are approximately 77.5 million dogs and 93.6 million cats that currently have homes in the United States. Every year, 6-8 million enter the shelter system. Between 3-4 million dogs, cats, puppies and kittens won't make it out alive. We have entire litters of puppies and kittens that never know what it is like to live in a home and be loved. Roughly 7 animals are killed every minute. By the time you reach the end of this blog entry, 70 will be dead. Despite the number of animals dying in the shelters across the country, puppy mills and breeders continue to breed. There are laws being passed in cities and counties across the nation in an attempt to slow down this mass production of dogs and cats. Until those laws take affect, and are followed, we still have a very serious overpopulation problem. Purchasing an animal from a pet store or an unqualified breeder contributes directly to the problem. Your money encourages them to breed another litter and another and another to continue to make money all the while robbing puppies and kittens in the shelters of a home. When you adopt your pet from an animal shelter or rescue group, you are saving a life and not contributing to the breeding that has brought us to this point.

Many people have unintentional litters. They don't bother to spay or neuter their pet and end up with puppies or kittens. Even if they are responsible and line up homes for them, there will be fewer homes for the puppies and kittens currently in the shelters waiting for homes. Unintentional litters take homes away from animals already in the shelter system. Breeding directly takes the life of a shelter animal, contributing to the 3-4 million deaths occuring each year.

The overpopulation problem will not go away overnight. Not everyone is going to spay or neuter their pets today, this week, this month, this year. Dogs and cats aren't anywhere close to becoming extinct. Spaying and neutering your own pet will help stop the deaths occuring every minute in shelters across this country. What will fixing your pet do? It will keep them from getting certain kinds of cancer, make them less likely to bite, less likely to run away and less likely to fight with other animals. They will also live longer, healthier lives. For more information about low cost spay/neuter, please visit our website and click on Resources. If you aren't in the Los Angeles area, you can visit for a low cost option in your area.


  1. Awesome blog entry. :) I always hear that. "If puppy mills close down, then wouldn't dogs go extinct?" Or, sometimes, they believe there would be no more purebred dogs, but I would rather have puppy mills close down and "destroy all" purebred dogs than have millions of dogs put down each year in shelters.

    Besides that, they're not even well-bred dogs! With so much inbreeding and abuse in the puppy mills, there is no way it'll be a top-quality 'purebred' dog. Surely if one is after a purebred dog, and willing to spend so much for it, they'd want one of good quality.

    Again, I'm glad this entry was posted. :D

  2. This is a wonderful entry and I hope you don't mind if I share it on my blog. Great information and perspective on the plight of animal homelessness. Thank you!

  3. are you against humans breeding as well

  4. why dont you nuter yourself also so that you can contribute to the prevention of human overpopulation

  5. Humans just need to die out already so animals in general will stop going extinct unless it's by mother nature itself.

  6. ''What will fixing your pet do? It will keep them from getting certain kinds of cancer, make them less likely to bite, less likely to run away and less likely to fight with other animals. They will also live longer, healthier lives.''

    You forgot to add that having them spayed/neutered at too young an age will drastically increase their chances of developing terminal illnesses like osteosarcoma (bone cancer) and result in pain, suffering and early death.

  7. Nice article, but it kind of got a little preachy and moved around the subject. I dont have anything against the article, I'm just making an observation. And I have a question. Out of genuine curiosity.

    If we spay and neuter every dog or cat we see, won't that be a problem later?

    Of course we do have an overpopulation problem, but this eventually could backfire. As things like this do. When you scramble to fix a problem too quickly you run the risk of overcorrecting.

    Lets say we push to lower the overpopulation issue, and over then next 25 years we succeed. Suddenly we have a much lower number of cats and dogs in the world, most of which are spayed or neutered. Great, this is manageable. However, because we are use to the 25 year push, people will continue like this is normal. We don't change easily or quickly. And so we could face breed extinction within 50 years or so. Not a total extinction, just the extinction of some of the lesser known or least liked breeds. This just as bad as over population.

    Just as you said, fixing the over population won't happen over night. But fixing an underpopulation problem due to an inability to reproduce will take even longer.

    I'm not saying we should stop spaying and neutering pets. I'm saying we need to understand what a push like this can do. To fix the problem gradually, instead of immediately fixing every animal that passes through a vet clinic. We need to be aware of an over correctuon, and have a contingency plan if and when one happens.

  8. The big problem I have with spaying and neutering is how badly it's being pushed. I'd be fine with a few, but it's like experts want every last cat and dog neutered, which is why I'm so much against it.

  9. I agree, and believe dogs and cats will eventually become extinct if the aggressive push to spay/neuter every dog/cat does not stop.