Spay FIRST! is a national non-profit organization with the mission of educating the public about the crisis of pet overpopulation which still affects much of our nation. Spay FIRST! is dedicated to preventing animal cruelty by helping to establish low-cost spay and neuter programs in underserved areas in order to enable people everywhere to have their pets spayed or neutered today.
Preventing overpopulation is the only humane way to halt suffering for millions of dogs and cats and to help communities that are otherwise unable to humanely address the issues of unwanted animals.
Helping communities have pets spayed or neutered also enables families to develop bonds to dogs or cats that would otherwise become surplus, or disposable, annoyances.
Areas of rural poverty face some of the biggest problems and, unfortunately, usually have the fewest resources. Issues facing people in chronic poverty impact the animals that share their lives. That’s why Spay FIRST!needs your support to help create spay/neuter programs in the most needy areas of our nation.
PET OVERPOPULATION AFFECTS MILLIONS OF ANIMALS & EVERY TAXPAYER - KNOW THE FACTS:
*Cats/dogs can get pregnant at 4 months old – spaying/ neutering prevents litters that cannot be cared for. Sadly, over half of Americans polled believed that pets should not be altered until after six months of age.
*By eliminating accidental first litters, U.S. births of 2 million kittens alone could be prevented annually.
*Millions of homeless dogs and cats are euthanized in U.S. shelters each year. Euthanasia, due to being homeless, is the single leading cause of death of dogs and cats.
* Spaying a dog or cat costs a fraction of sheltering its unwanted litter and reduces the demand for more shelter space.
*The current cost of sheltering and animal control in the U.S. exceeds $2 billion dollars a year. That figure would increase 11 fold in order to rely on long term sheltering instead of euthanasia.
In addition to halting reproduction, other health benefits of spaying/neutering include the prevention of certain types of cancers and behavioral problems that include roaming, fighting and “marking”territory. Please see our fact sheet about the benefits of spaying/neutering.
Spay FIRST! provides animal lovers with an array of easy ways to get involved: visit: www.SpayFirst.org.
Dollar for dollar, spay/neuter programs do more than shelters, transport or rescue programs
Affordable spay/neuter programs are urgently needed in low-income towns across our nation.
We spend billions of dollars on pet care products but for nearly half of U.S. households the image of a child happily romping with a healthy pet is merely a fairy tale. In poor communities, especially rural ones, children are often pained seeing their pets abandoned or shot because the family cannot endure another litter. The largest source of unplanned puppy and kitten litters are low-income homes and households with free-roaming cats that produce colonies of feral cats.
* A single male & female dog and their puppies can produce thousands of puppies in 6 years. A female dog can have a litter as young as five months old & then one every six months after that and cats can even get pregnant at four months of age. A male dog can impregnate as many females as he can get to in a day.
* Nearly half of all Americans believe wrongly that a pet should be allowed to have a litter before being altered.
* Many low & moderate income homes are unable to get pets altered before they have an unwanted litter yet fewer than ten states have statewide access to reduced cost spay/neuter services.
* Many states have no high volume spay neuter programs at all.
* Only 51% of homes earning under $35,000 per year have their pets altered, compared to over 90% of higher income homes, yet 41% of American households earn under $35,000 per year.
* The number of homes living in poverty in the U.S. increased dramatically in the last two years and their pets’ lives are urgently fragile. This points to the urgent need for expanded access to community based spay/neuter services.
*In rural areas, there are often more pets per household and less access to spay neuter services.
* While most towns and cities have animal collection facilities of some type, many poor counties do not. Unwanted animals are abandoned, shot, drowned and sold in “swap meets” and flea markets where they have been documented to go to research, dog fighting and puppy mills.
*Worldwide there are 375 million homeless dogs and nearly the same number of unwanted cats -that is 75% of all dogs and cats that are born across the globe. More dogs are electrocuted, poisoned, drowned and starved than are killed by lethal injection, as humane euthanasia is standard only in developed nations.
RUTH STEINBERGER BIOGRAPHY
Ruth Steinberger, Founder of Spay First!, is a highly-respected animal advocate who has devoted her career to expanding the network of professional and grass roots organizations that partner to assist at-risk animals through prevention (spay/neuter), education, and legal protection.
Ms. Steinberger has coordinated rural pet sterilization programs since 1993 when she launched her first program in the Appalachian region of southwestern Virginia. She moved to Oklahoma in 1999 to make her home in an area with no existing low-income spay/neuter programs. Since her move, she has expanded her network by working daily with non-profit organizations, veterinarians and dedicated volunteers to start new spay/neuter programs in low-income regions around the state and throughout the country.
Before becoming a Founder of Spay First! she was a founding board member of SPAY Oklahoma, the first high-volume, low-income spay/neuter clinic in Oklahoma. She remains Outreach Coordinator for Spay Oklahoma and has served as the Development Director for Oklahoma Spay Network and as Director of Outreach for the Oklahoma Alliance for Animals.
Ms. Steinberger has created innumerable programs unique to the communities she serves. One remarkable program she developed was in association with the tribal health office of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. Working together to establish a spay/neuter program tailored to the needs of reservation populations, nearly 7,000 surgeries later, this program is recognized as a national model for serving areas facing chronic poverty.
Understanding that education is vital to helping at-risk animals, Ms. Steinberger has assisted in coordinating accredited seminars on early age spay/neuter for veterinarians in conjunction with the Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association. In addition, Ms. Steinberger has worked with Oklahoma State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners investigator Dale Fullerton and Carey Floyd, D.V.M. to develop the first continuing education anti-cruelty classes for Oklahoma peace officers. This class is now provided by the state law enforcement training agency wherein officers learn investigative veterinary forensic techniques and the link between animal targeted violence and the progression to violence against humans.
Ms. Steinberger is a much sought-after speaker. At the Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine she presented a paper on pet overpopulation as a public health issue and the role of the private veterinary practitioner in the resolution of this crisis. She has been featured at many national conferences including all Spay U.S.A. Southern Regional Leadership conferences from 2003 through 2009, the 2011 Best Friends Animal Society’s No More Homeless Pets Conference, the 2007 Humane Society of the United States’ Expo and the 2011 Spay/Neuter Leadership Retreat.
An esteemed animal advocate, spay/neuter expert, and activist/journalist, Ms. Steinberger has received recognition throughout her career. She has been the recipient of numerous awards for her outstanding work in the spay/neuter field including the ASPCA’s prestigious Henry Bergh Award for animal activism. The noted publication, Veterinary Practice News, featured the low-income service model Ms. Steinberger developed, called “In-Clinic Clinics,” in its March, 2007 issue. Ms. Steinberger’s journalistic talents earned her being honored as Journalist of the Year by the Lakota Journal.
Always an active volunteer, Ms. Steinberger is an Advisory Board Member and Legislative Chair with the Oklahoma Humane Federation and was recently awarded an honorary lifetime membership in the Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association.
Ms. Steinberger is proud to work with new communities everyday to help create effective programs to prevent animal suffering.