In Madison County, over 400 cats, dogs, puppies and kittens have been euthanized since 2015. There
have also been 1,023 stray pets picked up and 1,041 pets relinquished to the shelter by their
owners during that same time frame.
March, April and May are kitten and puppy season each year in Madison County. And lately,
whether it’s attributable to the warming climate or not, we’re experiencing a longer breeding
season that produces one extra litter of kittens per cat each year.
Traditionally, a single cat could produce an estimated 1-8 kittens per litter and 3 litters per
year, which means that during her lifetime, one cat could have more than 100 kittens. In only seven
years a single unspayed cat and her kittens can produce as many as 420,000 kittens. Thanks to the
extended breeding season, now she can have 4 litters a year.
Dogs can breed twice a year with average litters of 6 – 10 puppies or more. In seven years, one
unspayed female dog and her offspring can produce 97,000 puppies.
For a small county in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, numbers like these can mean an
overwhelming problem quickly becomes impossible to control.
If you think that you’ll be able to give away your puppies and kittens during the yearly breeding
season, think again. If you are so lucky as to find homes for them, what happens to them after they
leave your house? What about the next time your unaltered cat or dog gives birth?
Sure, puppies and kittens are cute, but uncapped numbers put a strain on community resources, and in Madison County
so many animals roam free that euthanasia is sometimes the only way to deal with those numbers.
Nationwide, more than 2.7 million healthy, adoptable cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters
annually and statistics like these are the basis behind mandatory spay and neuter laws.
There’s only one consistently humane and effective birth control for dogs and cats and we already
know what that is. Spay and neuter your pets.
Some states have implemented mandatory spay and neuter laws. These laws are seen as the only way to
effectively decrease the number of unwanted animals. Violations are often punishable with fines for
not complying with the spay/neuter requirement because the belief is that if it doesn’t hit someone
in the pocketbook, they won’t do anything about it. Is that something we should consider
here in the mountains of Western North Carolina?
In Madison County, The Friends of Madison County Animals provide funding for low cost spay and neuter programs through grants. Several members write grant proposals throughout the yearand when these are awarded, the money goes out to the community to provide help for those who need it. Often people want to be responsible pet owners but the costs are high and most of the time, they only need a little help.
In some communities that implemented mandatory spay/neuter laws the pet population has been
reduced. In the future we might see similar laws take effect in Madison County, it’s certainly an
idea worth considering, but for now, spay/neuter subsidy funds are the most effective tool
available and the Friends of Madison County Animals will continue doing everything we can with the
donations at our disposal.
If you want to help with donations or become a volunteer you can learn more at FOMCA.org