Homeless and abandoned pets are crowding shelters throughout the nation, like the one at the Hilton Head Humane Association, due to pet overpopulation.
"We'll have times when our adoption rates will dip down a little bit, but it seems like the population of animals coming up doesn't," said executive director Susan Pyzik.
"While shelters are trying to find homes for the homeless, we have the homeless," added director Lara Batten. "We have these incredible numbers of animals being born, literally every single day."
That's why a new coalition called Spay Beaufort County is working together to control the pet population by encouraging pet owners to neuter their pets.
"By joining forces and putting our resources together, we have the best chance at addressing an epidemic that is creating mass destruction of animals in our area," said Batten.
In a seven-year period, two cats and their offspring can produce 400,000 cats. In that same amount of time, two dogs and their offspring can produce 40,000 more dogs.
"These animals are innocent and it's the irresponsibility of us humans not getting our animals fixed that causes the death literally of animals," said Batten.
Besides controlling the pet population, spaying and neutering pets can help your pets live longer, make them easier to train, and reduce the risks of them running away.
If you have a male cat you'd like to spay, take part in Cool Cat Weekend, sponsored by Spay Beaufort County Coalition (male cats only):
- 9am-4pm Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 22 & 23
- Cost: $10
- Beaufort: Office of Dr. Lauralicella, 422a Parris Island Gateway
- Bluffton: Office of Dr. Parker, corner of Hwy 278 & Buck Island Road
- Hilton Head: Miracle Animal Rescue Spay and Neuter Clinic, 140 Beach City Road
For other animals, the Miracle Animal Rescue Spay and Neuter Clinic is a nonprofit clinic that offers spays and neuters at reduced costs for those who financially qualify. Contact Lara Batten, director, at 140 Beach City Road, Hilton Head, or call 843-227-DOGS.