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Spaying, Neutering Key to Cutting Cat Population

April 22, 1993

In your March 26 (South Bay section) story on Mobil Oil's feral cat relocation, their spokesman Barry Engelberg said, "This problem is not just a Mobil problem. It's a countrywide problem." After a quarter century in animal welfare work, I can tell you that, unless we solve this problem, we're never going to stop the killing of millions of animals in shelters nationwide at a cost to the taxpayers of about $100,000,000 every year. Despite decades of public education and pleas from humane organizations to "spay or neuter your cat," the problem has grown exponentially worse and worse--and worse.

Visit a local animal shelter sometime around July, and see how many healthy, playful kittens are on their way to the euthanasia room. But don't blame the shelter. Blame the cat owners who allow their pets to breed. Blame the ones who drop the litters off in somebody else's neighborhood. Those who survive become the feral cats who produce more litters and create the situation the Los Angeles SPCA has been working on for years--not only with Mobil Oil, but with dozens of industries, motion picture studios, office buildings and apartment complexes.

To those who think Mobil is misspending its money for the rescue effort and spay/neuter surgeries: all the taxpayer-supported killing of cats and kittens over the decades has had virtually no impact on the overpopulation problem, and indeed the number of cats in shelters has increased.

Spaying and neutering is having an impact. Our Los Angeles SPCA Litter Abatement records show it. But not enough! I wonder if pet owners hear us when we say, "Please,"--yes, we're begging--"please have your pets spayed and neutered."

Anybody listening?

EDWARD C. CUBRDA

president, Los Angeles Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

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