. here in the USA, we still kill between 3 & 5 million ‘surplus’ AKA homeless dogs & cats, each year. Try to imagine how many animals that is, on any average day. It’s 8K, 219 daily on the low end, at 3M —- or if 5M died in the year, & the deaths were distributed evenly, 13,698 in a day... across the 50 states. Early AKA pediatric desex is now standard practice in municipal shelters - that’s S/N done on any healthy pup or kitten, who weighs at least 2# & is old-enuf to leave their dam & littermates. In most states, that’s 8-WO minimum or 56-DO; in a few who are lazy & can’t be arsed to match USDA regulations on minimum age of separation, the earliest a pup or kitten can be adopted & leave their natal family is 7-WO / 49-DO. Australia has also adopted pediatric desex as their standard for shelters, done prior to making any infant pup or kitten available for adoption. In the USA, ped-desex was being done in progressive shelters as early as 1972, in sheer self-defense, as even with an adoption contract that says they will both confiscate the pet AND fine the adopter, “spay / neuter by 6-MO” is worthless. Adopters sign the blasted contract, & yet they forever have some excuse for not getting the op done... & then she’s preggo, or he’s escaping to sire litters, & they shrug & bring the litter to the shelter, or tell the bitch’s owner it’s YOUR fault for not spaying her, not MY fault for my randy dog getting out. The blame game is pointless; if all pets are S/N prior to release, none of them will get preg, nor sire another future litter. Problem solved. The national average compliance rate with a pubertal S/N contract here is just 40%. That leaves 60% of adopted intact pets, still fertile - & we will never reduce our kill rate, with 6 of every 10 adopted-intact dogs & cats, able to breed, since apparently here in the USA, owners are incapable of recognizing estrus, or suitably confining or monitoring their intact dog of either sex. There are also those perennially aggravating parents who want THEIR pet to “show my children the miracle of birth’; they quite deliberately get their bitch or cat pregnant, despite the massive overpopulation of pets. I can only froth at the mouth when these numpties start yammering about how wonderful it all is, because yes, pregnancy & birth are quite incredible, but at the same time, they are not risk-free... & their “loved” female pet is possibly going to pay the price of their foolhardy decision. Showing their bored children the “miracle of death” wasn’t in the plan, but stillbirths & dam deaths happen, too. Pediatric desex in U-S shelters & rescues became SOP in the early to mid-80s; it was SOP in Oz around the same time, so both countries have massive data across more than 30 years of early-neuter. Ped-desex patients heal faster, bleed less, have less post-op pain, are under GA for a shorter time, & have fewer complications across the board than pubertal patients [who are between 5.5 & 7.5-MO], & in their turn, pubertal desex is safer, less painful, less prone to complications, than ADULT desex, which is the riskiest age of all. Ped-desex patients only fast briefly, not for 12-hrs, & they are up eating and playing shortly after surgery, as tho nothing had happened; they heal with less scarring, too - internal, not external - & that further lowers the risk of possible complications, such as bladder adhesions, bowel strictures, & so on. On a personal level, in 2012, I moved from the Southeast [Virginia, in the Tidewater area of Va Beach / Norfolk / Chesapeake / Hampton / Newport News / Suffolk], where surplus dogs & cats abound, strays are common, & kill rates in shelters can reach 50% or more of surrendered pets, to New England - where “surplus” pets are so scarce, shelters & rescues are forced to import kittens & puppies, to have any for adoption. This IMO is a delightful ‘problem’ to have! - whole litters of young pups or kittens, & dozens of young adults, are brought from high-kill shelters in the South, Midwest, & Southwest, in vans or RVs, to New England states, where they are desexed, treated for any medical issues [parasites, skin problems, gut issues, etc], placed with fosters or kept in kennels, & put up for adoption by the public. Small-scale registered nonprofit rescues are EVERYWHERE, & they scour the shelters of Arkansas, N & S Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Ohio, northern Michigan, etc, to find adoptable dogs & cats. If i walk down any street in Massachusetts, IM direct E, the odds are overwhelming that any dog i see is an out-of-state adoptee, & if s/he was adopted as a pup, they were desexed before the owner picked them up - pediatrically [defined as before 12-WO]. It’s funny, i see more hounds here than i did in Virginia during the 12 years that I lived there, yet often the Coonhound or Beagle or Foxhound that i meet, walking along a Boston or Medford or Malden street, CAME FROM Virginia. It’s a reunion of sorts. I am delighted to be out of Virginia; i don’t miss volunteering in Ye Olde Dominion’s shelters & seeing healthy young animals who are doomed to die shortly, from newborns, to 2 & 3-YO adults in the bloom of youth & strength. I am thrilled to be in New England, where unplanned litters are scarce commodities that are imported, treated like pearls & gems, & can’t be brought in fast enuf to meet the demand - which pushes novice owners to get young-adult pets, who are plentiful, & a better choice for the 1st time owner, anyway. The New England average for S/N vs intact pets is 75% desexed to 25% intact. In Massachusetts, at least 80% of dogs & cats are desexed, & in the Boston metro area, it’s 90% & up; virtually every pet who is not either a show entry or a breeding prospect, IS neutered. And i’m glad of it - the dog parks are calmer than in VA, fights are practically unknown, there are very very few strays & they are quickly picked up & reunited... compared to Ye Olde Dominion, this is pets’ heaven on Earth. I am ecstatic that in Massachusetts, i’m no longer haunted by the faces of pups & kittens i saw today, who will be dead tomorrow, & bagged for cremation. U really cannot imagine what a relief it is, that i can walk into a shelter & KNOW that every animal in it, with very very few exceptions [s/he has an untreatable condition, chronic unrelievable pain, or severe problem behavior that can’t be mitigated], WILL BE adopted - not killed. Now that i am in Florida, that’s no longer true - CraigsList ads here are not registered rescues showcasing their adoptables, but desperate owners looking for someone, ANYone, to take in their pet... so they don’t have to take them to the local shelter, which here in Polk County is very likely to put them down. Unplanned litters & BYBs selling purebred litters or “designer” crossbred litters are common, posting in defiance of CL rules [no breeding, no sales]. Once we get our new wheels [Rozinante, the ramp-van, died], I will post some photos of the Death Row pets in the local shelter... perfectly nice, friendly animals, who will die for want of a home. - terry .