‘Fixing’ the Companion Animal Overpopulation Problem

Issue 1|Winter 2024

It’s hard to beat this story of survival: In India, a pregnant dog tumbled to the bottom of a 30-foot-deep well, where she gave birth to four puppies. For months, the little family survived on trash and scraps people threw into the well. Finally, though, someone called Animal Rahat, a PETA-supported relief organization. Animal Rahat’s rescue team pulled the pups and their mother up to safety. After a much-needed scrub, veterinary care, and sterilization for the whole canine family, the team returned them to their village.

Animal Rahat is tackling the stray-animal crisis village by village, having already sterilized and vaccinated 95% of the dogs in 26 villages. PETA India responds to tens of thousands of emergency calls annually and has “fixed” 1,620 community cats in the last two years alone!

The companion animal overpopulation crisis is a worldwide one, and PETA entities around the globe are busy spaying and neutering animals at no or low cost in areas where people otherwise have no means of obtaining such lifesaving services.

Free ‘Snips,’ Lifts, and Doghouses

In Virginia and North Carolina, PETA’s mobile clinics perform more than 12,000 sterilization surgeries per year for animals living in low-income areas – ones like Lucky, who had been obsessively chewing at his own tail, causing a bloody wound. His guardian couldn’t afford veterinary care, so PETA amputated part of Lucky’s tail and neutered him – all free of charge. In the last 20-some years, the team has sterilized more than 213,700 animals, preventing the births and inevitable suffering of millions. PETA also offers free rides for animals like Brandon, whose guardian is in a wheelchair, and provides sturdy doghouses to animals like Trixie, who was kept outside in a flimsy wire crate without any protection from the elements.

Lucky, Brandon, and Trixie

Spaying Like There’s No Mañana

Life is no fiesta for the thousands of dogs and cats struggling to survive in the poorest of neighborhoods surrounding the tourist town of Cancún, Mexico. With support from PETA’s Global Compassion Fund, PETA Latino has sterilized over 3,000 dogs and cats there, every surgery free of charge, with more clinics on the horizon. The team counsels guardians about the dangers of chaining, distributes educational materials, and provides flea, tick, and heartworm treatments. PETA Latino also partnered with the Humane Society of Puerto Rico to host a two-day event for underserved communities, sterilizing and vaccinating nearly 200 animals in one fell swoop on the island.

From supporting high-volume spay/neuter clinics in Peru to helping a veterinary clinic in Afghanistan, PETA’s Global Compassion Fund brings hope worldwide.

Saving Lives in the Philippines

In the Philippines, PETA Asia’s rescue team followed faint meows to a pillar inside a restaurant, in which little Paprika had somehow become trapped. The rescuers carefully cut the pillar apart to free the kitten, then spayed and vaccinated her. A doting family adopted her – and soon afterward adopted a second kitten as a friend for her. One of the close to 3,400 sterilizations the team has carried out for animals who otherwise would add to the country’s overpopulation crisis was for Eula. She was plagued by just about everything imaginable, but PETA Asia treated it all: her severe mange, infected wounds, tick-borne disease, and distemper! Today, Eula is feeling on top of the world.

Eula before and after

Stopping the Cycle of Suffering

Filthy, skinny, and soaking wet, with a heavy chain wrapped around her neck, the little dog barely looked alive when her intoxicated owner dropped her off at a “PETA Helps Romania” spay/neuter clinic in a wheelbarrow.

“She’s 7 months old and aggressive,” her owner insisted. But the depressed dog didn’t even lift her head. The team named her Robin (from “roabă,” the Romanian word for “wheelbarrow”). And after weeks of patient TLC from the “PETA Helps Romania” team, she healed physically and emotionally – progressing from tentatively wagging her tail to jumping for joy when she saw her rescuers. Now spayed, vaccinated, and brimming with confidence, Robin has started a new life with people who love and value her.

Robin before and after

Robin is one of the more than 7,500 animals PETA Germany and its partner Eduxanima have helped “fix” and fix up in the past year in Romania, which has more homeless dogs than any other country in Europe. The “PETA Helps Romania” program provides free sterilizations, veterinary care, and doghouses; shows people how to care for their animals; and advocates for animal protection policies.

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