Spaying and neutering your pets are crucial to maintaining the overpopulation of cats and dogs in a community. Earlier this week, I sat with Wendy Hosman, the Heber Springs Humane Society shelter manager, to talk about the importance of spaying and neutering our furry friends.

“800 cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters per hour throughout the United States due to overpopulations” said Hosman.

It is said up to 500 puppies can be born from one unsprayed female dog and her offspring in seven years. Cats can produce up to 4,900 kittens from one unsprayed female cat and her offspring in seven years.

How is our local animal shelter helping to maintain population control?

In the month of January, the Heber Springs Humane Society received a grant from Pet’s Smart Charities Low Income Spaying/Neutering for $36,000.

“Since receiving the grant, we’ve issued a little over $10,000 worth of vouchers,” stated Hosman.“With this program we hope to reach the portion of the community that would have trouble affording spaying or neutering their pets."

Though overpopulation can be problem, there are some major benefits to fixing your cats and/or dogs.

Your pet will less likely want to roam. Studies have indicated up to 85 percent of dogs hit by vehicles are dogs that are intact.

Male dogs can smell a female dog in heat up to five miles away. Neutering your male dog will help eliminate that drive to hunt down a female dog in heat and it will also help reduce the tendency for territorial marking.

It will help with their health in the long run.

Spaying your female dog helps keeping some illnesses away. Female dogs are unable to contract pyometra, a life threatening infection of the uterus. Also spaying and neutering your pets will help reduce cancer in reproductive organs and breast cancer in female dogs.

Aggression issues may decrease.

75 percent of dog bites by male dogs occur when the dogs are still intact and 80 percent of male dogs that have been presented by behaviorists for dominance aggression are males that are still intact.

How has the spaying/neutering program and the awareness of such other programs been helping in Heber Springs and surrounding areas?

“Thankfully, to rescues, TNR, adoptions, and increasing awareness of spaying and neutering, the Heber Springs Humane Society has not had to euthanize any animals within the shelter for space” said Hosman.

The Heber Springs Humane Society has gone to great lengths in gaining the help from local veterinarians in Heber Springs, to Rosebud, and Greers Ferry.