Voice: Spay and neuter your pets, for society's no good

September 02, 2001

Wanda Gag's "Millions and Millions of Cats" is a children's story. But to me it is a horror story. I have lived it — I know how problems multiply when one takes in animals that have not been neutered.

Laurel Ware, who truly loves animals, as I do, is 100 percent right about people abandoning their pets. Our home on the outskirts of Ocotillo was an epicenter for animal abandonment.

I am no latter-day St. Francis, but like the brother of the beasts, I could not endure cruelty to animals. As litter after litter of kittens were abandoned on our property, we took them in and tried to feed them. The expense of feeding them became too much for our meager income; we tried to place the cats with Lulu Belle and the Humane Society. Neither would take them — they reported that they were filled to capacity.

Our own cats were neutered; the abandoned cats were not. They interbred until there were 48 of them. We were on our way, it seemed, to being inundated by the millions and millions of cats depicted in Wanda Gag's story.


I had to be hospitalized just after the 48th cat was added to our menagerie. I loved those cats as if they were my own children and could not face having to give them up.

But common sense told me that in my debilitated condition I could not take care of 48 cats. We couldn't find homes for them and I could not bear to think of all those loving, beautiful cats being exterminated.

While I was in the hospital, the choice was taken out of my hands. My husband called the pound; the cats were carted away and in due course exterminated. I was totally traumatized.

That was several years ago. But every time I see a cat in person or on TV, the grief overwhelms me. I will carry it with me to the afterlife.

This was a needless sorrow, thrust upon me by cruel, uncaring, irresponsible people who abandoned their pets on my property.

I would appeal to you: Have your pets neutered before they reach the reproductive stage. Don't abandon them. Don't thrust your unwanted pets on other people.

With the passing of Edna Martin, the Imperial Valley has lost its chief protagonist of animals' rights. Others, like Laurel and me, can serve as spokespersons, but we have not the means to finance an animal shelter like Edna's. Perhaps Emily Shreck can provide the leadership to keep Lulu Belle's going.

But there will always be more abandoned animals than Lulu Belle's and the Humane Society can handle if people don't have their pets neutered.

Perhaps we should organize a low-cost neutering service.

Otherwise, the horror story of millions and millions of unwanted cats and dogs will haunt the Imperial Valley, and our nation.


El Centro

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