The Humane Animal Rescue of Pittsburgh strongly supports spay/neuter as an effective means to reduce shelter intake, prevent accident pregnancy and avoid reproductive diseases in the dog, cat and rabbit population. In particular, HARP supports voluntary, affordable, accessible spay/neuter programs for owned pets, Trap/Stray-Neuter Return (SNR/TNR) programs for feral and community cats and the mandatory sterilization of shelter animals and dogs and cats prior to adoption.
We also support provisions that incentivize spay/ neuter in situations of pet reclaim from the shelter. This can be an effective strategy that does not create unintended negative consequences, such as preventing low income owners from reclaiming pets due to inability to pay applicable fees.
Humane Animal Rescue of Pittsburgh also practices and supports the practice of pediatric spay and neuter. Numerous scientific studies evaluating the effects of early-age spay-neuter suggest that the procedure does not lend itself to serious health implications and is medically sound. Early age spay neuter offers many advantages including safe anesthetic and surgical techniques, shorter surgical and recovery times, and avoidance of the stresses and costs associated with spaying while in heat, pregnant or with uterine disease.
There are also numerous long-term physical and behavioral health benefits including reduced risk of pyometra and mammary tumors, elimination of testicular and ovarian tumors, and a reduction in undesirable reproductive behaviors. Neutering prior to sexual maturity is strongly recommended to ameliorate pet overpopulation, and prevent the birth of unintended litters.
In addition, being sexually intact has been identified as the leading risk factor for owner relinquishment of cats and dogs; therefore, neutering prior to adoption is likely to improve the odds that adopted animals will be retained in their homes. Early-age spay-neuter helps combat the single largest killer of dogs and cats: overpopulation and euthanasia of unwanted, homeless pets.
Because Spay and Neuter is so entwined with our mission as a humane welfare organization as a whole, we also require that all pets being seen through our low-cost Veterinary Medical Centers be altered, or in the process of being altered, to utilize our services. This helps to ensure that we maintain our philosophies and positions on these vital surgeries throughout the organization.