Why it’s important to spay or neuter your pet

Clear The Shelters celebrates 1 million pet adoptions

In its ninth year, NBCUniversal Local’s Clear The Shelters campaign has hit a major milestone: The nationwide pet adoption and donation initiative has resulted in more than 1 million animal adoptions since 2015. It crossed the million mark amid this year’s monthlong campaign, during which 157,000 shelter pets across the country found new homes.

The announcement was made today in collaboration with Clear The Shelters partners Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Greater Good Charities and WeRescue.

“It’s been an immense privilege to witness the growth of Clear The Shelters from a local initiative led by our stations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, NBC 5 and Telemundo 39, to a nationwide cause that has helped a million pets find new homes,” said NBCUniversal Local Chairman Valari Staab.

One highlight of this year’s campaign came in the form of a life-saving flight. Along with partners Greater Good Charities, Hill’s Pet Nutrition and The Animal Rescue Site, Clear The Shelters participated in a pet airlift, transporting 193 dogs and 76 cats from overcrowded shelters in the South to shelters across the Northeast, where they were made available for adoption.

Clear The Shelters this year was also proud to announce award-winning entrepreneur and shelter pet advocate Sir Darius Brown as its campaign ambassador. Brown, 16, is the founder and CEO of Beaux & Paws, a pet accessories and lifestyle brand. As part of his ambassadorial role, Brown designed a special Clear The Shelters edition of his signature pet bow ties, which were sold at Beaux & Paws and The Shop at NBC Studios.

Twin Cities animal rescue has new name, expanded purpose: Helping owners keep pets

The animal rescue nonprofit Secondhand Hounds is getting a new name and expanding its mission beyond just helping dogs and cats.

The Minnetonka-based organization announced Friday that, starting Jan. 1, it will be known as the Bond Between — launching a new model of animal wellness by focusing on helping pet owners as well as pets in hopes of reducing the number of animals that are abandoned at shelters.

“Over time, I really realized how important it was we weren’t forgetting the human equation,” Executive Director Rachel Mairose said. “The organization couldn’t just focus on animal wellbeing and animal rescue … [and] we realized the mission is bigger than that.”

Secondhand Hounds is broadening its social services and forming partnerships with other nonprofits, moving from a food shelf that provides pet food for low-income families to offering free spay and neuter clinics.

This year the nonprofit launched a pilot program with Women’s Advocates in St. Paul, which runs a domestic abuse shelter, and the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV), which works with homeless veterans, to foster pets for free for 90 days while their owners get housing help or other assistance.

I know it’s not polite to stare but ever since I started working in animal welfare, I can’t help but notice when male dogs and cats aren’t neutered. The evidence is just so … prominent. But aside from how these dangly bits might look, it’s always surprising to me that in this day and age, some people still don’t want to spay or neuter their pets.

Don’t get me wrong, the thought of having a beloved pet’s offspring to love when that pet is gone is tempting. We often romanticize the notion that their puppies or kittens will be just like their parent whom we adored — but they won’t. Animals are all individuals, just like us.

Lack of spay/neuter is the single biggest contributing factor in the cause of unwanted pets. Pets in shelters across the United States face euthanasia simply because of pet overpopulation. That’s why at Marin Humane, cats, dogs and bunnies are all altered, as we call it, before they go to their forever homes. We want to end the cycle of breeding unwanted or neglected pets that fill our nation’s shelters.

Beyond preventing more unwanted pets, however, is the fact that there are many benefits — to the animal, to their guardian and to the community.

First, neutering male dogs and cats eliminates the urge to seek out females in heat, which means fewer pets will try to escape a house or yard.

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