Spay Aware Ireland - Archive June 2009


General spay & neuter links

Friday, June 12th, 2009

Here are some FAQ general print outs about spaying & neutering.

General information about the process

About the process for cats

About the process for dogs

A little background about Spay Week Ireland: It was originally inspired by what was then the Doris Day Foundation’s Spay Day USA. The organisation has since merged into the Humane Society of the United States, but still run their very effective annual awareness-raising campaigns. The organisers were very supportive in getting our country’s first Spay Week off the ground – and in fact our logo reflects the original logo of their Spay Day.

Pete the Vet on TV3 about Spay Week Ireland 2009

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

Pete On TV3

Animals can’t vote, but they do count

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

Claire Byrne Spay Ireland

Photo: Newstalk Presenter Claire Byrne with puppy

There’s nothing quite so appealing as a cute kitten or puppy but the sad truth is that in Ireland far too many are abandoned as soon as they lose that cuddly appeal. Unwanted dogs are typically left to roam the streets until they are picked up and taken to the local pound, where the odds are that they will be put down unless they are lucky enough to be found a new home.

Figures from the Department of the Environment show that in 2008, over ten thousand healthy but unwanted dogs were destroyed in Ireland’s dog pounds. (See the table at the foot of this release). But even this fate is relatively humane compared the plight of the thousands of abandoned kittens and cats facing painful and drawn out deaths when left to fend for themselves.

From this Sunday June 7th, Spay Week Ireland 2009 is appealing for action to end the high numbers of unwanted animals by promoting the key message that spaying and neutering should be the natural choice for all pet owners.

“Since we started Spay Week seven years ago, the number of dogs destroyed in Ireland has gone down from nearly 18000 per year to just over 10000 being killed annually, but we still have a long way to go,” says television vet and Spay Week Ireland organiser Pete Wedderburn. “Animal destruction rates in Ireland remain at an appallingly high level. On a per capita basis, we still destroy unwanted dogs at around ten times the rate, per capita, of our nearest neighbour in the UK.” No similar figures exist for cats but using a formula devised by the University of Florida, the animal welfare group ANVIL estimates that every year, a staggering 180,000 kittens die within a week of birth.

“Pet owners need to be responsible and stop contributing to the crisis of unwanted litters of puppies and kittens in this country,” Pete Wedderburn says.

“Early spaying and neutering is also the healthy choice for pets. Research shows that early neutering dramatically reduces an animal’s chances of developing common cancers and other diseases. It keeps pets healthy, helps control the over-population of stray cats and prevents the needless destruction of perfectly healthy animals in pounds.”

Hundreds of vets, animal welfare volunteers and charities around the country are helping to promote the Spay Week message. The campaign is being supported by VICAS (Veterinary Ireland Companion Animal Society) and dog-welfare charity Dogs Trust.

Across the country, many charities such as Dogs Trust, Blue Cross, ISPCA and DSPCA offer discounted neutering schemes for those who are unable to afford normal veterinary fees.

True or False?

According to Spay Week Ireland organiser Pete Wedderburn, it’s important to separate the truth from the myths when it comes to considering spaying or neutering your pet.

The Truth

Ireland destroys dogs at a rate ten times higher than the UK. An average of 27 dogs were destroyed every day in Irish pounds in 2008, nearly all of them healthy. No official figures are available for the number of abandoned cats that die in Ireland but anecdotal evidence strongly suggests the figure is even higher than for dogs. These numbers would be cut dramatically if more owners spayed or neutered their pets. Spaying or neutering is good for your pet’s health. The risk of cancer plummets, they’re less likely to be aggressive and they live longer as a result.

The Myths

MYTH: Spayed or neutered pets get lazy and fat.
FACT: Proper diet and exercise keeps them healthy and fit.

MYTH: Female cats and dogs should have at least one litter.
FACT: They are perfectly healthy and fulfilled without reproducing.

MYTH: Neutering changes a pet’s personality
FACT: Your pet will remain as loving as ever.

Statistics from Ireland’s local authority dog pounds:


2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Dogs entering pounds 24475 24716 25510 24163 23310 20649
Dogs rehomed/ reclaimed etc 6780 8118 8964 9565 10661 10555
Dogs dying in pounds 17695 16598 16546 14598 12649 10094

One belief that unites us …

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

Spay week 2

This is a reprint from Vet Pete Wedderburn’s blog.

Remy (from ASH animal rescue). Claire Byrne (the Newstalk 106 presenter) and myself, Pete Wedderburn, work in different walks of life. There is one belief that unites us: that Ireland’s stray dog problem is dealt with in an unacceptable manner – by mass euthanasia in dog pounds.

This week, we’re working together to promote Spay Week Ireland 2009, the annual neutering awareness week. We’re trying to persuade all pet owners to have their pets spayed and neutered, to reduce the excess numbers of dogs and cats that are born in Ireland.

Over ten thousand healthy dogs are killed every year in local authority dog pounds. Many of these dogs could make good pets if they could find the right homes, but the problem is that the number of homes is limited. The surplus dogs can’t live out their lives in dog pounds, at the tax payer’s expense, so the easy option is taken: they are euthanased.

The most frustrating aspect of this sad story is that the problem could easily be solved. If all dog owners made it their personal responsibility to spay and neuter their pets, within a twelve month period the number of unwanted dogs would plummet, and the stray dog problem would be over.

Unfortunately, many people refuse to have their pets neutered. Remy, through his work at ASH Animal Rescue, regularly collects unwanted puppies from people who cannot keep them. These people allow their pet dogs to produce litters of ten or more puppies, then they phone Remy and ask him to find homes for them. Remy obliges, and the owners promise that it won’t happen again. Of course they’ll get their pet spayed. Then a year later, they call Remy again, with another litter of unwanted pups. This happens year after year. It’s as if they just aren’t listening.

When questioned, people have different excuses for not having their pets spayed or neutered: “Neutering will change my pet for the worse”. This is nonsense. Neutered males and spayed females are exactly the same animals, with precisely the same characters that they had before the operation. “Neutering will make my pet fat” This is also rubbish. Like humans, animals only get fat if they have too much food, and not enough exercise. Any pet will remain fit and trim if care is given to these aspects of pet care.

It is good for her to have one litter”. This is totally false. There is absolutely no benefit whatsoever to a bitch from having a litter. She is the same animal after having pups as beforehand.

“Neutering costs too much”. Whilst it’s true that it can be expensive to have a bitch spayed, this should be put into a budget when you take on a dog, along with feeding costs and other vets’ bills. If anyone has genuine difficulties with affording the operation, there are many different charities that are able to contribute to the costs. Ask your local vet if you want to find out the different options in your own area.

The positive aspects of spay/neutering are conveniently forgotten by people who refuse to have the operation done on their pets. Health benefits include reducing cancer, and directly prolonging pet’s lives. Did you know that, on average, a bitch lives for two years longer if she is neutered when young? There are some behaviour benefits too – male dogs and cats are much less aggressive to other animals once they’ve been neutered.

Spaying and neutering should be the natural choice for all Irish pet owners: have you had yours done yet?


Over ten thousand dogs are killed in Irish dogs pounds every year.
This problem would be solved if owners had their pets spayed early in life.
To learn more about Spayweek, visit

First day of Spay Week Ireland 2009

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

There is now clear evidence that we are succeeding in our aim of reducing Ireland’s terrible toll of unwanted cats and dogs by persuading owners to spay or neuter their pets. New figures published by the Department of the Environment show that in 2008, the number of unwanted dogs destroyed in Irish pounds fell by 2,580 compared to the same figure for 2007. This represents a very welcome year-on-year fall of 20.39% compared to the same total for 2007, which itself represented a substantial drop from 2006.

Taken together, these figures add up to a positive downward trend that has seen the annual total of dogs destroyed in Irish pounds more than halved compared to the appallingly high figure of 21, 357 recorded in 2002, when Spay Week Ireland was first launched. For all of us who support Spay Week Ireland, these are hugely encouraging figures, providing firm evidence that the initiative is making real impact in terms of convincing more people to take to a responsible attitude to pet ownership.

While the latest figures are welcome, the disposal of even a single homeless pet in this way is one too many. While the daily dog destruction rate has dropped from 40 to 27.58 per day in just two years, this is still unacceptably high and continues to be much greater than that of our nearest neighbour in the UK. While no official figures exist for numbers of stray or destroyed cats in Ireland, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that the country’s feline destruction rate is even higher than the canine equivalent.

Spaying and neutering are clearly essential to ending the destruction of unwanted pets. But they can also have important health benefits for both cats and dogs, making it a natural choice for owners. Further information on the health benefits of spaying and neutering are outlined in the attached report.

Spay Week Ireland 2009 is once again supported by the Veterinary Ireland Companion Animal Society (VICAS) and international dog welfare charity, Dogs Trust, which since launching its nationwide, subsidised neutering scheme in 2006 has played a significant role in reducing Ireland’s unwanted dog population. This continues to be available and offers dog owners on means-tested social welfare benefits the opportunity to have their dogs spayed or neutered for a nominal fee of €20. The Dogs Trust Neutering Hotline on 1890 946 336.