EDITORIAL – Spay, neuter and otherwise control your pets

In the Spring a fuller crimson comes upon the robin’s breast;
In the Spring the wanton lapwing gets himself another crest;
In the Spring a livelier iris changes on the burnish’d dove;
In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.
– Alfred Lord Tennyson, Locksely Hall

As Cayman dogs’ and cats’ thoughts have turned to ‘love’ this mating season, the Cayman Islands Humane Society has found itself overrun with unwanted animals. As the Compass reported last week, there is no more room at the animal welfare group’s shelter, bursting at the seams with, at last count, 99 dogs and 58 cats. That number does not include additional animals which are being ‘fostered’ by temporary caregivers in private homes.

“It’s the cats and dogs season,” Assistant Shelter manager Jason Jairam told the Compass, saying the group has been receiving “litter after litter” this spring. They are not alone: Last year, as the Compass has previously reported, the Department of Agriculture impounded 388 dogs — more than a dog per day.

Police and Department of Agriculture officers have taken to walking neighbourhoods to educate owners about their responsibilities. The Humane Society estimates it has done more than 10,000 spay and neuter surgeries over the course of its work here — some of them for free. The group holds veterinarian clinics three days per week, during which pet owners can make appointments to have animals ‘fixed’. Still, the problem persists.

No pets, particularly dogs, should be left free to roam the neighbourhood, where they chase cars and sometimes people, get into fights or, if they have not been spayed or neutered, impregnate other dogs.

Pet owners have a legal and ethical obligation to make sure their pets are well cared for, that they are protected from harm and do not present a danger or public nuisance.

To our minds, spaying and neutering falls squarely within that realm of responsibility.

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