February 26th has been designated World Spay Day. This special day was started in 1995 by the Doris Day Animal League and is now recognized by over 70 countries around the globe.The stated mission for this day is to promote "spay/neuter as a proven means of saving the lives of companion animals, community (feral and stray) cats, and street dogs who might otherwise be put down in a shelter or killed on the street."
The promotion was developed based on the sad fact that in 1995, the annual euthanasia rate in overcrowded animal shelters was between 14 – 17 million pets each year. As of result of the efforts of this organization through special grants and increased public awareness, that rate has declined to about 2.7 million pets per year. Over 1.5 million pets have been spayed/neutered as a direct result of this day and the overpopulation of feral and strays has been reduced dramatically.
Over the years many shelter organizations along with the Humane Society have developed special programs to promote awareness and annual events in recognition of the need for widespread, readily available spay/neuter programs. To that end, the Doris Day Foundation continues to offer annual grants for in support of Spay Day programs and events.The World Spay Day organizers also offer this list of participation ideas for shelters and rescues:
- Promote your spay/neuter programs on social media such as Twitter and Facebook. Use hashtag #worldspayday.
- Organize a visit to a school or a youth or community group to speak about what pets need to be healthy and happy.
- Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper advocating spaying and neutering to pet owners and government officials.
- Ask your legislator(s) to adopt a resolution proclaiming the last Tuesday in February “World Spay Day” in your town or city, county or parish, or even your state! Download sample resolution language here. Check in with your HSUS state director, who may be able to connect you with your HSUS district leader or HSUS state council member. Perhaps you can work together as a team!
- Host a special spay/neuter event that reaches people who usually lack access to services, such as those living in underserved areas, or that assists community (feral and stray) cat caretakers.
- Raise money for your spay/neuter programs. Raffles, bake sales, "spay-ghetti" dinners, restaurant nights, benefit concerts and shelter open houses are just a few examples of fundraising events that organizers have found to be successful.
Take the time to become familiar with programs in your area and lend your support, whether it’s volunteering or financial. It makes a big difference.Additional Resources: