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Animal Humane Society position on pet overpopulation

The quantity of companion animals is grossly disproportionate to the number of homes available for them, a situation that has produced suffering for orphaned and displaced animals, many of which are euthanized in our nation’s shelters.

This problem exists in part due to indiscriminate breeding practices that result in excess puppies and kittens. An equally important factor is the number of adult animals surrendered. Unexpected life changes and situations where people are unprepared, unable or unwilling to handle the challenges of pet ownership result in their surrender to shelters.

Decreasing the number of unwanted pets and preventing random births requires a multi-faceted approach, including behavior training, spaying and neutering, and education.

Training and pet behavior programs for the public contribute to reducing the quantity of animals brought to shelters. Research suggests that education of pet owners improves the human-animal relationship which, in turn, increases the likelihood of a life-long home.

Sterilization is an essential part of the solution. Animal Humane Society requires that all dogs, cats and rabbits placed by AHS be spayed or neutered. AHS practices and supports the practice of prepubescent spaying and neutering of kittens and puppies. Further, AHS believes that all private or public shelters should dedicate resources to insure that the companion animals they adopt are not allowed to reproduce. We support programs that provide education and incentives to the public to spay or neuter their companion animals.

We believe that public education about responsible pet ownership and pet overpopulation is a key component to reducing the quantity of animals brought to shelters every year. In addition, animal welfare organizations have a responsibility to provide education and increase public awareness about the pet overpopulation problem and must engage the community to act, advocate and work together to effect change locally and nationally.