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Are police dogs neutered?
The BBC is running a campgn agnst the routine castration of police dogs, suggesting that it is unnecessary and cruel. I must confess to seeing an appeal for signatures at the end of the programme. That is why I have signed it – I hope others will do so.
The fact is that neutering is the normal practice in this country for pets of all kinds. In veterinary practice we have the good fortune of talking to more neutered pets than castrated ones. Castration is not done for any scientific or medical reason, but is merely a procedure that makes the animal a little easier to control. A castrated animal cannot mate, so there is no risk of the genetic condition called cystic mastitis that is common in intact dogs.
I have never seen a dog castrated while it was still a puppy. The practice is done on dogs of all ages. All a castrated dog needs is good food, a bit of loving attention and a clean house.
As for the cruelty issue, neutering is far less cruel than the other options of killing or abandoning. A neutered dog will live a long happy life with its owners. And while I don’t believe that dog killing is cruel, surely it is more cruel than leaving a dog in the back of a van?
For the record I have always believed that it is better to let nature take its course with the male dogs and leave them to breed. I have no interest in owning more than two dogs, and no male dogs could have reproduced with me in mind. So with the support of the RSPCA, I have always gone along with this arrangement.
I am grateful to the RSPCA and other like-minded people for making me rethink my stance. I now see that neutering is the right option for a dog to live a happy life. It might be sad to see a male dog dead, but it is much more sad to see it go through a life of loneliness and misery just because it is male.
You are right, I can’t agree with your “I hate male dogs” statement, but I am glad that you can see the reasons and benefits for neutering male dogs. We love having a number of dogs as we always have a “doggy” or two that can be let out at our cottage.
You must have missed a few weeks of the blog where I had written about neutering when there were a number of unneutered dogs in the care of the RSPCA. If neutering dogs improves their quality of life, it is fr to ask why we leave thousands of unneutered animals in the care of rescue organisations?
One thing that a “mange-free” dog, for example, is unlikely to be a victim of dog fighting. We’ve had them long enough to know what a healthy dog looks like. And it was the number of dogs, from many walks of life, that made it clear to me that this is a problem. If you would like to see the difference, please check out these photos. This is the healthy, happy dog at the left. The one on the right had his ears and face mutilated.
The most sad aspect is that those poor creatures are probably already on their way to being bred and re-sold to another unsuspecting family.
If you are truly concerned about male dogs, don’t use the term “mange-free”. They don’t have mange and many of them are in fact very mangy. The most likely situation with an unneutered male dog is that it will have been bred before coming into the RSPCA. So, this means that you are not only putting a potential family member at risk, you are also supporting the problem.
Thanks for reading my post. I just love it when there is so much discussion around topics that have affected people’s lives!
I’m not a real dog person. We are just very fortunate that I find the time to volunteer for the RSPCA, the local dog pounds, the local shelter and rescue centre, and the pet rescues I fund. But I do really enjoy seeing the many good things these organisations do.
But the question that I keep getting asked by people who want to buy a puppy and have it neutered is how can you be sure the puppy will be neutered before you buy it. The answer is that we don’t really know if it’s true.
But we can be frly confident that the puppies being bred in puppy mills are unlikely to be neutered. There is evidence that there are puppy mills that don’t sterilise male dogs, there is evidence that those that do may not be doing a very good job. And there are anecdotal reports of puppies being born to mated female dogs and still born (these are often found dead and have been euthanised). So, these puppies that come from puppy mills should be assumed not to be sterilised and should be considered the equivalent of a mated female dog.
There have been other studies and one of them showed that the dogs from puppy mills are significantly less likely to be sterilised than other puppies in the pound (that’s where all the abandoned and unwanted dogs are held before being put down). Another of the many studies showed that just 2.3% of puppies from puppy mills are neutered.
So, all puppies that come from puppy mills should be considered mated and have no way of knowing if they have been neutered. And if you are taking a puppy home from the pound, don’t expect the shelter worker to be able to tell you how old it is or if it’s been neutered.
So, what can you do if you want a neutered puppy? This is a topic that has been discussed on many dog forums. There are lots of information on the internet about how to prevent litters. One of the things that is being debated is the use of anesthetics and whether or not you should do so. If you are just going to get a puppy from a shelter or a rescue you can’t expect a shelter or rescue to spend the time and money to sterilise and anaesthetise it for you. And the shelter workers don’t have the time. They are already being overwhelmed with the many dogs that need to be neutered, the medical costs and the time they have to spend working.
Of course, this is only one of the issues that can occur if you are trying to adopt a puppy.
The next issue is this: The shelter or rescue has only limited funds avlable to provide for the shelter and the many dogs that need to be cared for and there are also many