These are slow times for Anne Arundel County Animal Control Administrator Jan Worrell.
She doesn't hear as much barking and meowing ather Glen Burnie shelter these days. Yesterday, she counted 51 dogs and 27 cats at the shelter. The capacity is 68 dogs, 15 to 20 puppies,50 cats and 20 kittens.
Worrell is thankful many of the dogs and cats brought in by her employees will find a home.
But that's not true from March to October, when people carrying unwanted litters of kittens and puppies parade into the shelter daily. Worrell estimates the shelter takes in 40 to 50 kittens and about 20 to 25 puppies a day during those months.
But she can't keep them all. Many are destroyed after 24 hours. Last year, the shelter destroyed 2,030 dogs and 4,196 cats, including strays and unwanted pets. Nearly 9,000 dogs and cats are destroyed in the county each year.
"We just don't have room for all of them," Worrell said. "And there aren't enough people to adopt them. It's very depressing."
She's hoping more pet owners get their animals spayedor neutered before unwanted litters arrive. That's where the Prevent-A-Litter program comes in. Sponsored by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Anne Arundel County, the program providescoupons during February for 20 percent discounts on spaying and neutering dogs and cats. The coupons are redeemable at any county veterinary clinic.
"Hopefully, this program will help curb the pet overpopulation problem," SPCA Executive Director Frank C. Branchini said. "Animals reproduce at a substantially faster rate than people. The endresult is obvious."
Spaying or neutering pets also helps prevent health problems, such as breast cancer in female animals and rectal cancer in males. Pets should have the procedure performed at six months of age.
Last year, 510 pet owners took advantage of the program.
So far this year, the numbers are encouraging. Several veterinarians have been performing at least one a day.
Veterinarians at the Bay Country Veterinary Hospital in
Crownsville have spayed or neutered about seven pets. The clinic charges $45 to $125 for the procedure.
The average cat litter is from four to eight kittens; for dogs, from two to 10.
Coupons are available at the SPCA in Annapolis, the animal control shelter in Glen Burnie and at several veterinary clinics. For information, call 268-5285.