Today brings us to the third installment of the One Question Interview series. Today’s answer is from Aurora Piacentino, Director of Operations at Liberty Humane Society.
Question: If you had the opportunity to communicate and teach one concept to all dog owners everywhere, what would it be and why?
Answer from Aurora Piacentino
Probably something you would expect from the Director of an animal shelter – the importance of spay/neuter in pet quality companion animals. I think that by this point, most people have probably heard that they should spay or neuter their dog, but most don’t know why. They might have some vague idea of health benefits or pet overpopulation, but those are concepts that most people don’t apply to themselves,
"My pet is healthy, why should I worry?"
"Too many animals? That’s why they have animal shelters, they find good homes for them!"
Pet owners should understand that keeping a dog intact, breeding dogs as well, comes with some very real health risks that can affect healthy adult dogs. With each heat cycle a female dog goes through her chances of developing mammary tumors and a horrific uterine infection, called Pyometra, increases. Pyometra often is diagnosed in later stages and most often requires expensive surgery, fluid therapy, antibiotics and other supportive care to treat. With pregnant dogs, there is always risk that complications could arise during birth – potentially risking both mother and puppies lives. Male dogs that are not neutered can also experience health issues directly related to remaining intact such as Prostate or Testicular Cancer. All of these conditions have the potential to not only significantly affect your pocketbook but to drastically reduce the quality and length of life of your companion.
Pet owners also need to understand that each and every litter born has an effect on their pet community. It simply does not make sense to bring more dogs needing homes into a community where there are already homeless dogs looking for families to adopt them. We do have animal shelters for those unlucky animals that find themselves without a place to call their own, but the dog owners in the community can help the cause by choosing to spay and neuter and thereby reducing pressuring the system, so to speak. It’s up to the animal shelter to provide information on low cost options, but the dog owner must take that next step and do the responsible thing. They have to cast aside fears that simple surgery will change their dog’s personality or physique (both notions that are completely false) and make the decision that they will be a part of the solution.
About Aurora Piacentino
Aurora Piacentino is Director of Operations at Liberty Humane Society in Jersey City, NJ. Liberty Humane Society is a private, non-profit animal shelter with a mission dedicated to fostering a community of compassion and respect, and providing animals in need with a chance at a lifelong, loving home.
For more information on Liberty Humane Society and to see the many animals in need of adoption, please visit www.libertyhumane.org.