More spays; less strays!

Dear Editor,
Time and again, there have been numerous calls from the general public to have animals, both large and small, removed from the streets. This missive will zoom in on small animals, ie, dogs and cats. The large animals, such as horses, cattle, and pigs, are an entirely different kettle.
Editor, only those who are directly involved will ever truly understand. It is an endless daily battle. Any attempt to educate society about the importance of animal well-being and welfare is an uphill task since oftentimes, the welfare of an animal is perceived as inferior to that of humans.
Editor, the sad reality in Guyana is that there are simply not enough homes for all the animals, and shelters are out of space. Shelters are filled beyond their capacity. There is simply not enough space or resources to house all the animals that are dumped and abandoned on a daily basis. On any given day, an average of about 15 kittens and puppies are surrendered to any of the local shelters, the GSPCA might have a higher number. Now, multiply that number by 7 and you get the reality. There is simply not enough space!
For those that are not surrendered, they are dumped every day. Some are placed in bags and dumped in trenches or by the roadside. Some are dumped at garbage dumps. Some were killed by the very owners. These pups and kittens are left to the elements of nature, diseases, and parasites. No one cares for them. No one to shelter or provide for them. Their next meal is not guaranteed and their illnesses get progressively worse. Internal parasites proliferate. Attacks from older animals left them wounded. Attacks from humans, who despise them, are even worse – chops, poison, burns etc. Left untreated, their wounds become infected and infested, and their diseases and parasites are then spread to our pets and, in some instances, to us humans.
When animals are placed in overcrowded shelters, that also comes with its complications. Reduced personal space for animals increases their stress levels and encourages fighting and obsessive-compulsive disorders (Stereotypies) such as clawing, biting, head butting, teeth grinding and gnawing etc. Overcrowding also increases the incidence of diseases and disease spread amongst shelter animals.
Editor, in some cases euthanasia is inevitable. Euthanasia is never an easy option but it can be the most humane option. Euthanasia saves an animal from such torment. But again, it’s one of the hardest decisions to make. It is, however, the last option. This procedure is fast and painless, for the animal, but never for the veterinarian performing the procedure nor shelter workers or rescuers who are the ones who have to make the decision to euthanise.
Editor, there is a better alternative to euthanasia. It is a surgical procedure that prevents your dogs and cats from having unwanted litter of pups and kittens. If people really care about their animals and do not wish to have kittens or pups, a conscious sacrifice must be made to have these procedures done. Spaying and neutering are surgical procedures done under general anaesthesia and should only performed by a licensed veterinarian. In the females, a small incision is made to gain entry into the abdominal cavity, and the ovaries and uterus are removed. In the males, a small incision is made under the belly and the testicles are removed. Recovery from this surgery is usually rapid with minimal complications. Your pet will return to their normal activities within 24 hours after the procedures. If you have questions and concerns, you are free to consult with your veterinarian about same.
The benefits of having these procedures done are many; no pups or kittens, no birth complications, reduced incidences of reproductive tumours, reduced aggressive dominant behaviours in males and females, less straying and injuries related to straying, eliminated urine territory markings by tom cats and a longer healthier life for your pets are just a few to mention.
But with all surgical procedures, there are risks related, some of which include post-surgical bleeding, infection of the incision site, and in rare cases, allergic reaction to the anaesthetic used. However, there is less than a 1% chance of your pet developing complications, once carried out by a licensed veterinarian.
Book an appointment with your local veterinarian to get these procedures done. Also, there are numerous animal welfare organisations and animal activists that conduct low-cost spay and neuter clinics. Please contact your local animal welfare organisation or activist to get help.
Here is a list of some of the welfare groups operating in Guyana that conduct low-cost spay and neuter campaigns and they can be contacted via social media.
Tails of Hope – Animal Rescue
Paws for a Cause – Guyana
Guyana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (GSPCA)
Rosewood Foundation
Fureva Hope Alive
Also, you can do your part by adopting or fostering an animal, donating food, cleaning agents, and toys, or volunteering your time at a local shelter or with an activist in your area.

Anurama Ramgobin
Tails of Hope Animal Rescue