ASPCA's "Operation Pit" Promotes Spaying and Neutering
(Photo courtesy of ASPCA)
By shining a spotlight on pit bulls and pit-mixes, the ASPCA seeks to decrease the number of homeless pets in New York City.
An ASPCA first-time initiative, dubbed “Operation Pit,” launched this past Thursday, is an effort to decrease the rate of approximately 50,000 homeless pets that enter New York City area shelters each year.
“Anyone that walks into an animal shelter in the U.S., particularly in the Northeast, will notice that dogs tend to be overwhelming Pit and Pit-mixes,” said Louise Murray, DVM, Director of Medicine of the ASPCA Bergh Memorial Hospital in Manhattan, where “Operation Pit” is being headquartered.
“These are great dogs and we wanted to do something to help with that situation.”
Pit Bulls tend to have litters of 10 to 11 at a given time, unlike Chihuahuas, for example, which might have just one or two puppies in a litter, Murray says. That can increase the number of unwanted puppies, making them more susceptible to entering a city shelter.
The ASPCA already offers six mobile veterinary and spay/neuter clinics that move around New York City, which is also home to other initiatives, like the Toby Project, which also provide complimentary spay/neuter procedures to pet owners who can’t necessarily afford to take their dogs to a private veterinary clinic.
But “Operation Pit” is designed to “literally invite Pits into our doors, saying ‘Please come, we’d love to have you,’” Murray told Zootoo Pet News.
Spaying and neutering dogs has multifaceted benefits, besides providing a fool-proof method of birth control and standing to curb rates of unanticipated, and potentially unwanted, litters. Spaying a female Pit or Pit-mix can help prevent them from developing an infected uterus or breast cancer, two diseases common in this particular breed, Murray says. Male Pits tend to be more prone to enlarged prostates – if they are not neutered, this can lead to difficulties in urinating and defecating, as well as vulnerability in contracting Parvo virus.
“In addition to helping prevent Pit and Pit-mixes from becoming homeless, fixing your dog can help prevent some of these health problems,” Murray said.
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