I hated being told what to do when I was growing up. In fact, if you told me that I had to do something, chances were good that I was going to do the exact opposite. Sometimes I would "cut off my nose to spite my face" (thank you, Dad). Grown-ups can be the same way.
You MUST spay/neuter your animal.
This tends to turn people off. When you're living somewhere that isn't enforcing mandatory spay/neuter (and never will, let's be honest), it's not a good conversation opener. It sets people on edge. That wall goes up and you aren't going to get through it.
But if you educate first and then allow them to make their own decision? We're finding that they want to do the right thing.
Meredith and I spent two days at a local mall today with an educational table. We do this a few times a year on the odd days we have here and there that don't find us in schools. As much as we love educating kids about responsible pet ownership and kindness to animals, we also have a passion for educating adults.
Overheard at our table:
"This is exactly what I've been looking for!" - man as he picks up our Low Cost Spay/Neuter
"Do you know where I can get my pet fixed?" - woman
"I want to have the operation, but it's too expensive." - woman (hey, guess what - we have a handout for that!)
I came home the first day and my husband asked me if I had any numbers for low cost spay/neuter because one of his pharmacy techs needed to know where to go!
Our friends who organize FREE spay/neuter clinics, who have spay/neuter mobiles - there is never a shortage of people lined up wanting to have their pets fixed. People WANT to do this. They just can't afford to shell out the $400+ to do it. Give them options and they will have their pet fixed. You don't have to pass a law. You just have to educate and then give them some options.
Our low cost spay/neuter resources can be found here.
Does your community have low cost spay/neuter options?