Legislation makes spaying & neutering pets more affordable - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Legislation makes spaying & neutering pets more affordable

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It's a doggone figure: of the 60,000 dogs on Guam, over a third are strays. But legislation has been introduced to control the numbers - specifically, making spaying and neutering more affordable for all pet owners.

Dogs gone wild...literally. Cyrus Lurh told KUAM News, "The stray dog population is significant. We have 24,500 stray dogs on island." He cites numbers from a 2014 survey conducted by the Humane Society International. The survey counted 60,000 canines on Guam.

Of that, over a third were roaming the streets, and that figure expected to have only grown since the count was conducted. For Speaker BJ Cruz, that reality bites.

"It's huge," said the policymaker. "And even my own experience with the dogs downstairs, trying to walk in Tumon, it really is terrible. Or running at night. It makes it really difficult."

On Tuesday, Cruz introduced Bill 120. The legislation proposes raising the costs to bring animals into Guam - from $60 to $175 for every dog or cat.

The fee is comparable to Hawaii's. Said Cruz, "The purpose is to try to provide an opportunity for everyone who has a pet to get their pet spayed and with the cost of spaying or neutering running about $100, we thought that maybe there could be a way we could have a fund to assist low income individuals with being able to get their dogs taken care of."

KUAM called local veterinary clinics and learned the procedure can cost a pet owner anywhere from $40 to $300-plus, depending on your pet's gender and size.

Lurh added, "Cost is definitely a factor that prevents people from getting spays and neuters."  Luhr, who is president of GAIN's Board of Directors, says the shelter receives 6-thousand animals annually and adopt those animals to forever homes.

Daily, they're running at near full capacity.

A single female dog can have up to three litters in a year. On average a litter is about five to six puppies but that can vary based on breed.  Though GAIN recently opened a spay and neuter clinic at their Yigo shelter, Bill 120 would provide vouchers so other local veterinary offices could drop their costs, too.

Luhr estimates the island would need to spay and neuter 75% of the animals in order to control the population, noting, "What Bill 120 does is hit the source of the problem. The only way to solve a stray dog population is to spay and neuter pets islandwide. At the shelter we're dealing with the symptoms of the problem, we're taking care of the animals as they're coming in."

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