Man’s Best Friends This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

     Paris Hilton’s chihuahua, Tinkerbell, Ashlee Simpson’s maltipoo, Blondie, and Jessica Alba’s pugs, Sid and Nancy, are known by the American public because of their famous owners and luxurious red-carpet treatment. These dogs are well kept and well publicized, and their appearance and treatment create the notion that all American dogs and cats are as well cared for. However, this is not true; today across America there are millions of neglected dogs and cats.

Because many Americans do not realize the importance of spaying and neutering cats and dogs, animal shelters are forced to euthanize three to four million healthy cats and dogs each year. Spaying and neutering proves beneficial not only to pets but to pet owners and everyday citizens. There should be mandatory government-provided neutering and spaying for all cats and dogs.

Sadly euthanization is what happens to many strays - happy and healthy animals - that are not adopted from shelters. Euthanization is commonly known as putting an animal “to sleep.” The stray population will continue to grow unless neutering and spaying becomes mandatory, and provided for all cats and dogs, under penalty of law. According to Animal People, in 2001, 36,500 animals were put to sleep in New York City alone, and nationwide a total of 4.2 million euthanized animals was recorded. The offspring of strays will inevitably grow up to produce more strays and probably become a nuisance, eating garbage, using public or private property to relieve themselves, and possibly even frightening citizens. These animals often end up in shelters, and there is a limit to the number that shelters can hold.

Spaying and neutering is good for the owner, the pet, and the community. It makes animals more relaxed, warmer, and less likely to bite, roam the neighborhood, or even run away. Mandatory spaying and neutering helps curb the growing problem of fighting animals as a form of entertainment (recently highlighted by the Michael Vick scandal). Pets are less at risk for certain diseases, and will live long, happy, and healthy lives. These actions will reduce the cost to the community of removing stray animals from public facilities and lawsuits from bite and attack cases.

Those who oppose mandatory spaying and neutering may be breeders who sell their dogs without registering as licensed breeders. These “casual breeders” oppose mandatory neutering and spaying because they can make easy money from the puppies or kittens they breed. They often don’t think about the ramifications of their actions. If puppies or kittens fall into the wrong hands, it’s possible that they will be mistreated and not provided with proper healthcare, or become strays themselves.

Some say that the price of purchasing a dog or cat will increase if only registered breeders are available. This is incorrect because more licensed breeders will exist as a result of penalties for casual breeders. And of course, there is always the option of adopting an animal from a shelter.

The fate of many helpless, loving cats and dogs rests within the important issue of neutering and spaying. We can all benefit from happy, healthy cats and dogs. The government should realize that it’s important to provide these services to keep animals off the streets. In the end, dogs and cats are man’s best friends, right?

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 13 comments. Post your own now!

Lily">This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
today at 4:22 am
i love this so much!
lomar said...
Jan. 20, 2011 at 1:29 pm
i was just kiding you are totaly right
sab102 said...
Oct. 26, 2010 at 9:21 am
While I do agree that spaying and neutering animals more frequently would benefit our community, I do not agree that it should be mandatory. Rather than having laws about spaying and neutering, I believe stricter leash laws could be just as beneficial. Animal rights are just important as human rights. Why is it that we want to spay a dog because there are dozens of puppies running around, but we don't want to spay the man who has a dozen or so children with various women? 
ponies replied...
Jun. 23, 2011 at 9:04 am
I agree; spaying and neutering should be government funded but not mandatory. In this case, I think accessibility and encouragement are more effective than laws. It is important to have a strong stance for an opinion article, though, so bravo.
ConstanceContraire replied...
Apr. 4, 2012 at 1:28 pm

sab 102 please do not compare a dog to a human 


agricola said...
Oct. 2, 2010 at 3:19 pm

i tottaly agree breeding of pets is wrong and a full scale spay and neutar project should be in effect


puppydogluvr said...
Sept. 10, 2010 at 7:32 pm
Wonderful article!! :D
pet lover said...
May 16, 2009 at 1:39 am
I think it is a good story
JasminN said...
May 1, 2009 at 6:47 am
I liked this story...
forever.a.clutz said...
Mar. 28, 2009 at 1:45 am
i thought it was very unique and very very good. good job! keep up the good work.
Twilight Grey said...
Feb. 27, 2009 at 1:59 pm
I think this is a great essay, nothing short of what I'd do, (and that's saying something!)
chocoluver123 said...
Jan. 27, 2009 at 7:06 pm
it was a nice essay. I feel like she got the point across very well. She could have expressed the voice a little better.
tippy tapper said...
Dec. 2, 2008 at 2:37 am
really good, very convincing. should be under opinion, though, right? you talk more about strays than pets anyway.=] good job
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