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An Alternative to Euthanizing Thousands of Pets in Indiana

Of the 125,000 animals that end up in Indiana shelters, about 40 percent are euthanized. (Virginia Carter)
Of the 125,000 animals that end up in Indiana shelters, about 40 percent are euthanized. (Virginia Carter)
January 26, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana is one of the few states without a mandatory spay and neuter law for cats and dogs, and those pushing legislation to make it happen say it would save thousands of animals from being euthanized every year.

The Indiana House has approved House Bill 1201, which now heads to the Senate.

At the Animal Protection Association in Jeffersonville, Faye Hinton rescues cats and dogs and puts them up for adoption, but not until they've been spayed or neutered. She said she believes not only is the legislation needed, but more education also is needed, particularly in remote parts of the state.

"In the mindset especially of people in rural areas, it's more like they're like agriculture," she said. "They're farm animals, and they don't see the need for it."

A study by Indiana University found that 125,000 animals, mostly dogs and cats, are surrendered to shelters every year in the state, and 40 percent of them are euthanized.

Hinton said people who live in cities and suburbs have a different take on the issue than those who live in the country "because people take them out into the rural areas and just dump them. And these people that you find in the rural areas that have 20, 30, 40 animals - that's the main reason. They let 'em stay and then they multiply, and you know how fast they can multiply."

Those who oppose making spay-and-neuter laws mandatory say they don't work. According to the American Kennel Club, there's a lack of enforcement of the law, and that even the low-cost clinics are unaffordable for many people.

Hinton said she is convinced that if the animal population isn't controlled, many of them will suffer needlessly. She's so passionate about it that she said every animal she deals with has the surgery.

"Other than spaying and neutering everything we get our hands on - even if we think it's a lost pet, we do it," she said. "If it comes into our shelter, it gets spayed or neutered."

The bill is online at iga.in.gov.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - IN