Today is National Spay Day
But PetFix Northeast Ohio had a good idea when they dropped off a shoebox full of them at The News-Herald last week.
The watermelon-sized bag inside of the box was tied with a string and note: "Take these kittens. I can't afford to feed them."
Dwarfed by the size and contents of the bag, it also contained a small, gold-trimmed jewelry box containing a single hole punch and marked this way: "Treasured pet. Wanted and loved - as all cats and dogs should be."
Between 6 and 8 million dogs and cats end up abandoned in shelters, a paper inside explained. Less than half make it out alive. Millions of others live life as strays.
But the problem is even greater than these individual animals.
Female cats can breed as early as four months; dogs, as early as six months. And in just seven years, one unspayed female cat and her offspring can produce 420,000 kittens, and one unspayed female dog and her offspring can produce 67,000 puppies.
For every human born today in the U.S., 45 cats and 15 dogs will be born, too.
"The best way to keep animals out of shelters and off the streets is to stop pet overpopulation at its source," PetFix pleads.
Welcome to Tuesday, February 23: Spay Day, sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International. Their annual campaign aims to inspire people to save animal lives by spaying or neutering pets and feral cats, which are mature enough for the surgery within 8 to 16 weeks of age.
Partnering in this, of course, is PetFix, a non-profit, low-cost mobile spay/neuter clinic serving qualified owners and feral cat caregivers in Lake, Geauga, Cuyahoga, Ashtabula, Portage and Summit counties.
The group that dropped off the shoebox of paper chips last week, hoping to plant a seed with its impact, has also altered more than 12,600 animals in the past four years.
If only you could pick up the box. Even tiny hole punches become heavy when so many are held together.
If their work touches you like it touched me, consider what you can do to keep the animals in your life - indoor, outdoor and stray - away from the destructive cycle PetFix works so hard and tirelessly to fight. And spread the word.
PetFix can be reached at 216-536-0930.
-- Sandra M. Klepach, SKlepach@News-Herald.com