Spaying and neutering pets is a necessity

Published 10:33 pm Saturday, May 19, 2018

Did you know a kitten could become pregnant as young as four months old and deliver at six months old?

A puppy can become pregnant as young as five months old.

That’s a problem for those of us who care about dogs and cats and don’t like to see them sick and neglected, hungry and homeless and, worst yet, abused.

Vicksburg and Warren County are more fortunate than many other places in Mississippi. We have a top-notch facility and staff at the Vicksburg Warren County Humane Society. And, the City of Vicksburg Animal Shelter has made tremendous strides toward becoming the kind of facility of which we can be proud. PAWS Rescue also does amazing work here caring for dogs and cats in need.

Still, we see the results of neglect and downright bad pet owners every day here.

The shame is it doesn’t have to be.

One very important part of the multi-faceted answer in controlling the unwanted dog and cat population is in spaying and neutering our pets.

Many of our veterinarians here offer spay and neuter surgeries at reasonable rates.

We always should patronize our Vicksburg and Warren County veterinarians whenever possible.

For those who are on Medicaid or Medicare, receive VA Disability or Social Security Disability, are currently receiving unemployment benefits, food stamps or aid to dependent children or are on Social Security Retirement, you are eligible for low-cost spay and neuter vouchers. Some private veterinarians accept those vouchers.

Mississippi Spay and Neuter also offers low cost spay and neuter surgeries through its The Big Fix Clinic.

Ask your veterinarian about the vouchers, or go to the Mississippi Spay and Neuter website at msspan.org for more information.

Mississippi Spay and Neuter is an amazing organization, as is Mississippi Animal Rescue League. They are separate entities, but work closely together. Before the establishment of Mississippi Spay and Neuter and its The Big Fix Clinic, Mississippi Animal Rescue League took in more than 17,000 dogs and cats per year.

Since the founding of Mississippi Spay and Neuter in 2005 and the opening of The Big Fix Clinic in 2008 in Pearl, Mississippi Animal Rescue League now takes in less than 10,000 per year.

Still, that number is horrendous, particularly considering the number of animals taken in elsewhere in the state by Humane Societies, municipal shelters and other rescue organizations, like our PAWS Rescue here in Vicksburg and Warren County.

Mississippi Spay and Neuter offers a transport program. They come to Vicksburg at the courthouse once each month, always on a Wednesday, and will pick up your dog or cat, take it back to The Big Fix Clinic for spay or neuter surgery, then deliver the pet back to you at the end of the day.

The clinic can spay or neuter puppies and kittens once they have reached three pounds and are three months old.

If you are interested in that service, please call 601-420-2438 to schedule an appointment. However, you will need to plan ahead.

Right now, wait time for spay and neuter surgeries for dogs is two months, seven weeks for female cats and three weeks for male cats. You cannot simply show up at the transport location and expect them to take your pet for surgery without first making an appointment.

Our community needs to take other steps to help curb the unwanted dog and cat population, like requiring permits and licenses for them, as well as limiting the number of pets per household. But having your pet spayed or neutered is the best first step.

When it comes to dogs and cats, the miracle of birth is no miracle at all, but a nightmare for many.

Jan Griffey is general manager of The Vicksburg Post. You may reach her at jan.griffey@vicksburgpost.com.