"Unless you are a licensed breeder of show-quality dogs, there's absolutely no reason for your pets to procreate," Canty said. "I'm not saying that people who have animals who aren't spayed or neutered are bad people. It just takes a few of the people out there that allow their animals to randomly and indiscriminately breed that create the proliferation of unwanted pets that we have in Bartow County.
"It's hard to really relate it to diseases but if I had to make an analogy, I would call it pandemic. I know for the year for 2011, the euthanasia rate in Bartow County was at 65 percent, which is exceedingly high and preventable. [Because of this situation], you have a lot of animals that are roaming, of course, [and] you have the likelihood of them being exposed to more and more diseases and maladies. Not only that, but it just creates a burden on our system and consequently more animals that could be in loving, forever homes are being euthanized needlessly."
In looking at Bartow County Animal Control's most recent intake numbers for felines, Canty is alarmed and worried about what the future holds.
"During the month of January, Animal Control took in 279 cats, which is more than double the intake for last year at that time," he said. "This does not bode well for the spring months, which are the height of cat breeding season. These are the numbers that we normally only see in the spring and summer months."
To highlight the need to spay and neuter, The Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society International are presenting World Spay Day on Tuesday.
According to www.humanesociety.org, "Spaying or neutering your pet is an important decision for pet owners. As animal lovers who value our pets, it is important to understand the impact of this decision. ... In every community, in every state, there are homeless animals. In the U.S. as a whole, there are an estimated 6 [to] 8 million homeless animals entering animal shelters every year. About half of these animals are adopted, and tragically, the other half are euthanized. These are healthy, sweet pets who would have made great companions.
"The number of homeless animals varies by state -- in some states there are as many as 300,000 homeless animals euthanized in animal shelters every year. These are not the offspring of homeless 'street' animals -- these are the puppies and kittens of cherished family pets and even purebreds."
As noted on www.humanesociety.org/issues/spay_day, Adairsville Animal Hospital will present the only World Spay Day offering in Bartow County.
The Adairsville Animal Hospital -- 7446 Adairsville Highway -- will sell a limited number of first-come, first-served low-cost spay, neuter and vaccine certificates on Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. While none of the surgeries will be conducted on Tuesday, Feb. 28, the certificates can be redeemed at a later date.
"I've been working with [Dog Pack Rescue] for a couple of years," said Dr. Dan Schwanbeck, veterinarian for Adairsville Animal Hospital. "I actually do all their medical work and spays and neuters. ... As a matter of fact they were the ones that asked us to participate [in World Spay Day] and to offer [this service].
"So we agreed. 'Hey, maybe this is a way to help the community and get some of these pets off of the [streets]. Maybe some people would take advantage of it and get it taken care of so they don't end up in the shelters,'" he said, adding there are a number of benefits to spaying and neutering, such has helping male animals be less aggressive and live longer.
For more information about Adairsville Animal Hospital's offering, call 770-773-3401 or visit www.AdairsvilleAnimal.com.