Sunday, April 14, 2013

Why sterilizations are important to me

People who know me and my work know for a fact that I have my heart stubbornly set on sterilizations. Back in 2010 I assisted Vier Pfoten with catching stray animals for sterilizations; in 2011 I coordinated a sterilization campaign of 100 animals with support from Romania Animal Rescue; and since 2012 our organization has provided hundreds of free sterilizations for stray, owned and shelter animals. Simply, as means to prevent more future suffering and to reduce stray animal numbers. And I do really mean it.

Sterilizations in effect save lives.
  • I have seen way too many suffering and dead pups, either abandoned or stray-born, to know that the kindest thing consists in preventing more future births. Ploiesti, Romania in general, and other developing regions have massive stray animal overpopulation with reduced welfare. We're talking about tens of millions of stray dogs worldwide. No way we can find all of them good responsible forever homes. No way they are all highly adoptable animals, we must be realistic. And for sure, their street life with no secure food, shelter nor veterinary care is no easy life for them. Thinking ahead and thinking large scale, sterilizations are the only means to truly prevent a lot of suffering, and cut down on animal overpopulation humanely.  
  • But sterilizations can save the lives of the sterilized animals also. In my experience, very few local people would consider adopting entire female pups and dogs, for fear of future unwanted pups. Sterilizing homeless female dogs in Ploiesti led to many of these females being subsequently adopted locally, which made all the difference for them. 
  • Other sterilizations of owned females led to these females not being abandoned anymore when getting pregnant (it's painfully common for pregnant females and females with newborn pups to be dumped on the side of the road by their owners). That's why we are happy to sterilize owned females as well, in order to prevent their abandonment in the streets.
  • People often call dog catchers when stray females get into heat and large packs of males gather around them. Prevention really is key, by having these females sterilized asap.

Sterilizations are most economical and far reaching.
  • For real. One sterilization costs us 21 euro and on the long run has far reaching implications, potentially preventing the birth of thousands of future pups to a life of suffering. Now that is an incredibly good investment! I cannot think of any better investment on the long run. 
  • In a city like Ploiesti with estimates of up to 8,000 strays... Focusing on rescue work and not on prevention through sterilizations is a sure dead end; a super costly dead end that in effect won't bring a change in stray animal numbers. 
  • Any animal rescuer knows how unbelievably costly veterinary care is for animals in need. Some animals with big veterinary needs require treatment as expensive as the cost of dozens of sterilizations... 

It's very easy in animal rescue to fall into the emotional side, to see just that dog only, to totally disregard and shun away the millions of other needy dogs and the millions more about to be born. It's very easy to lose the balance towards the emotional side, to stop seeing things in perspective and large scale.

While we also do rescue work, the RSDP stands primarily for sterilizations and they represent the compelling majority of our work. Because there are way too many dogs, of which very few could be re-homed, without producing a noticeable change in stray animal numbers; and because we strive to act in an educated and visionary manner, addressing stray animal overpopulation large scale and on the long run, maximizing the impact of our donations.

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