Animals

Board Declares Tuesday “Spay San Diego Day”

Acting on behalf of the County Board of Supervisors, Supervisor Pam-Slater Price proclaimed Tuesday “Spay San Diego Day.”

The proclamation at Tuesday’s Board meeting highlighted a new group of animal welfare partners called “Spay San Diego,” which includes San Diego County Animal Services. The group is dedicated to tackling the region’s pet overpopulation problem by promoting spaying and neutering.

“After dealing with this issue for so many years, we see it takes the effort of the whole county and even beyond,” Supervisor Slater-Price said.

Slater-Price noted that irresponsible pet owners who fail to spay or neuter their pets cost local taxpayers millions of dollars each year.

Animal control officers must pick up unwanted, homeless animals, and animal shelters such as the three operated by the County must care for these pets and try to find them homes. It’s an expensive cycle, tough on animals and people alike. The sensible and humane option is for owners to spay and neuter pets, Slater-Price explained.

Cat overpopulation in particular is a perennial problem that becomes especially pronounced from March through October, said County Animal Services Director Dawn Danielson. Animal shelters sometimes call this “kitten season,” and although that sounds sweet, the phrase has an ominous ring in the sheltering world.

During kitten season, shelters get flooded with kittens, sometimes very young ones without their mothers that need to be bottle fed. Pregnant, older kittens are also a problem, Danielson said.

Most people don’t realize that cats should be spayed young, because they can get pregnant when they are only about 5 months old.

“It’s babies having babies…or in the animal sheltering world, kittens having kittens,” Danielson said.

In total, the County Animal Services, which serves San Diego, Carlsbad, Encinitas, Del Mar, Santee, Solana Beach and the region’s unincorporated areas, takes in about 19 kittens under 3 months old every day during kitten season. That number doesn’t include older pregnant kittens, which also come in steadily, nor feral kittens.

Of course, all the while, older cats in the shelters also wait for homes, Danielson said.

Unwanted pets and pet overpopulation is not unique to the County’s three shelters.

So the 21-member Spay San Diego group is dedicated to raising awareness about the pet overpopulation problem and helping pet owners all over San Diego County find affordable spay and neuter options for their pets.   

“This is a long-term effort, and this group is just getting started,” said Renee Harris, Executive Vice President at the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA, a Spay San Diego member. “Ultimately, the best way to measure our long-term success is to significantly reduce the number of animals coming into San Diego area shelters.”

For more information, and to identify low or no-cost spay and neuter options for your pet, visit www.spaysandiego.com.