May 7, 2013

Be Kind to Animals Week (Part 3/7) – Animal Birth Control

By Shannon Sullivan

American Humane’s Be Kind to Animals Week has been celebrated nationally since 1915. In observance of this special week, May 5-11, Amazon CARES is running a seven part blog series addressing the major ways our organization is kind to animals.

Pet overpopulation is a problem in much of the world, including the region of Loreto, Peru, where Amazon CARES operates. Pet overpopulation is problematic for a number of reasons. The most obvious concern is that overpopulation results in stray animals. Stray animals are at high risk of illness, injury, and malnutrition.

A street dog in Iquitos, Peru.
Pet overpopulation is a problem for humans, too. When stray animal populations become too large, issues can arise with sanitation and community appearance. Public health and safety can also be jeopardized due to the risk of the transmission of parasites, as well as the risk of being bitten. 

Negra, a sweet street dog, in front of the Amazon CARES clinic.

In order to address pet overpopulation, Amazon CARES offers free and low-cost animal birth control to both dogs and cats throughout northern Peru. The CARES clinic is open in the city of Iquitos year-round, offering not only animal birth control, but also health checks, parasite treatment, vaccinations, and both soft tissue and orthopedic surgery.

The Amazon CARES clinic's surgery suite.

See how the doctors repaired this broken leg here.

Four times a year, Amazon CARES recruits volunteers and veterinary professionals from around the world to assist with mobile clinics in remote villages throughout the Amazon Basin. In 2012, more than 650 dogs and cats were spayed or neutered during our mobile clinics alone!

A mobile surgery suite. Learn about 2013 volunteer trips here.

View more pictures from a 2011 mobile clinic here.

Spaying and neutering are not only forms of birth control, but both also have significant health benefits. When a female dog is spayed, her risk of mammary cancer significantly decreases; her risk of a uterine infection, which is often fatal, is eliminated. Neutering a male dog reduces his risk of testicular cancer and can often improve his behavior. 

A dog asking to enter the Amazon CARES clinic.

Animal birth control is an effective means of addressing pet overpopulation. In one year, one female cat and her offspring can theoretically produce 60,000 cats! One female dog and her offspring can produce 11,000 dogs in one year! The staff and volunteers of Amazon CARES are able to prevent the cycle of unwanted animals through our animal birth control campaigns.

Get your own Be Kind pic here!

Amazon CARES can use your support for our June spay and neuter campaign. Follow this link to find out how you can help! 

Read Part 4/7 - Legislation to Protect Animals here!

Missed Part 2 - No-Kill Dog Shelter? Read it here!


  1. I am so grateful that you have written this blog. Keep blogging about animal care awareness and let everyone learn from it. Thanks for sharing! Have a nice day.

    1. Thanks for your support! Be sure to subscribe to our blog if you haven't already.

      Shannon Sullivan
      Blog Editor


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