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10 December 2010


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Gina Spadafori

I'll take you up on your offer. If you think I'm going to be upset if you never "return to, link to, or leave comments on this page again" you're going to be very disappointed.

You're done here.


Gina: You're just the queen of straw-man arguments, aren't you? Now you claim that I didn't consider the disadvantages of spay/neuter? Seriously? You don't know who I am or what I considered. You just make stuff up and hope it might be right? How ludicrous.

What I said was that the author was wrong about my motive (and most others') for altering my (and their) pet. It had nothing to do with urban existence. It has to do with reproduction. That's a perfectly fair, reasonable, and non-judgmental statement. And, it had nothing to do with anyone's decision not to alter their pets. Not the author's, and not yours.

YOU are the one who brought judgment into it. You are the one who falsely asserted that pregnancy was not an issue as long as one had a fence, a leash, and a responsible owner.

I'm happy to leave this discussion and never return to, link to, or leave comments on this page again. As you say, you're the queen here, you make the shots, and you can decide if reasoned disagreement will be tolerated. But make no mistake: it's clearly YOU who cannot handle a real, robust intellectual discussion. And that's too bad, because I thought this site could handle one.

H. Houlahan

So maybe instead of just defending the choice of keeping dogs intact, it would be more helpful for a constructive conversation about how to handle greetings/interactions with strange dogs that are intact vs. not.

Why not just remove the word "intact" from your account of your dog's targets, and consult a qualified trainer on how to correct your dog's inappropriate behavior?

Believe it or not, I've worked with a number of dogs who showed bullying aggression primarily or exclusively towards *castrated* males. I've got some interesting ideas about why that is, but those ethological insights didn't change one bit the dogs' owners' responsibilities to control their animals, nor did they change the training regimens we undertook to correct the behavior.

And FYI, off the top of my head, I can distinctly remember three dogs who showed this castrati-directed aggression: two neutered males and one spayed bitch.


My little terrier is one of those intact-male haters. Doesn't matter the breed, he hates 'em all. Girls are okay, even fun, and neutered boys are, well, neutral, but those intact boys...

He was neutered at about 1.5 yrs old. Had to go under for other reasons (herniated belly button and a dew claw removal...his were the sort that hung on by a flap of skin and could be rotated >360°). I wrestled with the decision and ultimately decided to neuter (obviously) for several reasons. What astounded me were the comments I received during the 6 months I owned him pre-surgery...downright hateful ones insinuating that I was barely shy of abusive and clearly immoral for having an intact dog...and a mutt at that.

My eldest girl was spayed at 5 months, and I regret that. She was my first dog and my vet at the time essentially suggested that if she were to have a heat pre-spay, she would die prematurely and be forever changed. The vast amount of "info" on the interwebs agreed. Were I to have a "do-over" she'd still be spayed by now (3yo) but not as quickly.

What can I say...did the best I could with the knowledge I had at the time.

E. Williams

Hello, I'm another one of theose "snobby false-elitists". I've owned intact male dogs that I show in obedience and conformation all my adult life and I've never had one run wild and impregnate everything with legs. My males also do not mark territory in the house by leg lifting, do not pester the female dogs, do not bully or attack neutered dogs, and have never murdered old ladies on the streets. My secret? Training and setting boundaries. Nothing extraordinary. Our politically correct pet testicle-phobic world drives me nuts (pun intended).

Janet Boss

All of my current animals are neutered. 2 of them arrived that way (via shelter) and the other was spayed at my request. I was chair of a committee at a largish shelter, to put a spay/neuter vehicle on the road. I believe in low cost spay neuter availability and believe that a large percentage of pet owners are probably best off having their pets altered, especially since so few bother to train to any reliable level. That said, I may never alter a male dog again, but will continue to spay bitches, because pyometra scares the hell out of me. OTOH, I will wait until said bitches are through a heat, maybe two, before doing so.

I can keep my intact pets from reproducing, even though they enjoy off leash activity. I don't take a bitch in heat to a dog park or to flyball tournaments, but I did take her to field training with GASP! intact DOGS. In fact, when she was in season, so were a few other bitches in training. Amazingly, none became pregnant. Due to training, leashes, crates, etc.

The "I neuter so my dog doesn't reproduce" is indeed a lazy answer. There are many reasons we may choose to or choose not to, but that answer is a fairly poor one. I still support rescue organizations s/n before placement.

Rob McMillin

Bitch fight! Bitch fight!


All our dogs are spayed or neutered because they are rescues one way or another, and that's how we received them.

I have friends who are responsible breeders, who produced dogs in very small numbers with specific goals. They take the time to understand the limitations and problems they are likely to encounter and how best to deal with them (don't breed a dog that has produced dysplastic dogs, etc.).

And I have dogs from one of the most irresponsible breeders I have ever heard tell of.

I understand people wanting to keep their dogs intact. And I have no problem with it in general. But if you want to get a dog from the local shelter, I also have no problem with the shelter requiring gonad-free animals as a precondition of adoption.


In my opinion, the issue at hand is not the risk/benefit analysis of s/n, it's the current paradigm that s/n is the first response to prevent or cure behavioral issues. In the discussion yesterday, one dog owner's inconsiderate lack of a the ability to control her dog in a public place was pushed aside because the other dog was intact. Therefore, the intact dog, through some unseen or unknowable force, instigated the other dog's misbehavior. If Rawley was neutered, the loose, unmindful dog would have been a perfect.gentleman. Too many people use s/n as a 'get out of jail free' card for not training their dogs or learning about dog behavior. It's like thinking that taking a driver's test is the last time you ever need to pay attention while driving. Dog owners need to understand that although there are innate dog behaviors, many behaviors (both positive and negative) are learned throughout the dog's lifespan.

Shifting this paradigm is really needed, as dogs become increasingly more active in all aspects of the human social life.


Something in Juliette de Bairacli Levy's book always kinda stuck in my mind. She says something about how cruel it is to neuter dogs because reproduction is their raison d'etre and to take that away is tragic.


I think it's a little bit like the vaccine panic in people, to be honest.

Anti-vaccine parents choose not to vaccinate their kids for downright scary diseases (measles being the main one) due to percieved risk and percieved safety (since most people ARE vaccinated, there's a very low chance of encountering someone infectious with that disease.) But that percieved safety is only available because most people HAVE gone along with the blanket vaccine recommendations.

Bad things CAN happen to responsible owners- I lost a dog in 2008 who bolted in a rural area and was never found. (Rittie, a very beloved smooth collie.) Female dogs are only in season twice a year, though, and responsible owners DO take extra precautions when managing girls in season. So a responsibly owned bitch getting loose in season is just, well, unlikely. Boys ARE another story, to some small extent- in theory, they could encounter in season bitches ANY time they got loose and therefore be responsible for accidental litters. But the chances of a boy encountering an intact bitch are only as low as they are because most people DO spay girls.

I think that s/n is the right decision for the vast majority of pet owners. But it should be a decision, not a default surgery, and it's one their vet should discuss with them, rather than just scheduling it and implying that it MUST be done Or Else.

Susan Fox

Having, as you know, participated on that thread, I found it interesting that the person in question couldn't take being disagreed with after making some very strong, definitive, but entirely anecdotal statements, and responded by leaving the thread and taking their comments with them.


"It requires... a leash... a fence ... and a responsible owner."

What snobby, false-elitist nonsense. I'm pretty much as responsible a dog owner as there is. I've got a big fence. I've got multiple leashes. I take my dogs for walks. I take them for their vet appointments. I get them training. I watch their diet. And you know what? They still manage to get out from time to time: in my dog-owning life, I have forgotten to secure the gate on two occasions. And I also, twice, underestimated the strength of a foster dog I saved from getting hit by a car, who rewarded me by breaking a hole into my fence.

Do you really think that is worthy of branding me as an irresponsible dog owner? Do you think the hundreds of thousands--- probably millions--- of dog owners whose dogs have escaped from a fenced yard are irresponsible pet owners? What a load of crap.

And if I'm not mistaken, part of the author's concern came after a trip to the dog park. Seriously? What happened to your leash = responsibility argument? Didn't really mean it, did you?

I'm not calling your actions irresponsible. I'm not calling the author's actions irresponsible. You brought judgment and responsibility into the discussion. Do with your dog what you want. But don't you dare judge me as an irresponsible pet owner because I seek to reduce risks you apparently do not consider worthy of reducing.


No, my animals aren't altered so that they can fit better into my urban lifestyle. And I don't think most others' are either. My dogs are altered so that they don't reproduce.

Gina Spadafori

My dogs are altered so that they don’t reproduce.

Comment by Ryan — December 10, 2010

That doesn't require altering. It requires ... a leash ... a fence ... and a responsible owner.

That last one is the trickiest, of course, and truth to tell, there are many many people who can't seem to keep from reproducing THEMSELVES that I would happily donate to spay-neuter clinics to help.

And their little dogs, too.

Most all of my pets are and will continue to be spayed or neutered, but not all of them. My boy retriever is just find with his junk left on. No health or behavior problems, no unplanned canoodling on his part. The spay-neuter I choose for my pets? I don't kid myself: It's for MY convenience, especially where all the cats and the female dogs are concerned.

Gina Spadafori

Little touchy there, Ryan, aren't you? How does pointing out that there are other ways of keeping a dog from reproducing change the fact that it's just fine that you chose a different way to do so? I'm saying that altering is not the ONLY way, and you jump all over it.


I’m not calling your actions irresponsible. ... But don’t you dare judge me as an irresponsible pet owner because I seek to reduce risks you apparently do not consider worthy of reducing.

Comment by Ryan — December 10, 2010 @

Oh, but you're not judging, right? Not at all. In fact, unlike you, I consider ALL the risks, including the risks of neutering. And yes, there are some.

For most people, the benefits outweigh the risks. That's why almost all of my pets are spayed and neutered. But altering is not completely benign, and it's time we stop pretending that it is.

As for "elitist": That's seems to be the insult currently popular, thrown at people who actually, you know, consider the facts and question the "prevailing wisdom." You're capable of doing that regarding the shelter industry. Why not this?

And by the way: My trained dog has a recall, so an off-leash dog-park is fine for him, too.


Well, as someone who has a rescue dog in the Big Apple, I run into a lot of people who don't know how to manage their intact dogs, so it's definitely a two way street. Many dogs in my neighborhood are not neutered for their lifetime due to cultural beliefs, rather than primarily for breeding purposes.

My dog was, we think, poorly socialized and neutered late. He was also biologically sterile prior to neutering by Animal Care and Control, so it's hard to say how screwed up his hormones were before we got him at the age of four.

BUT, he is very agressive towards intact males and at this stage, all we can do is try to manage it as best we can. But when we have a situation on the street, other owners don't know how to handle it. It's scary.

So maybe instead of just defending the choice of keeping dogs intact, it would be more helpful for a constructive conversation about how to handle greetings/interactions with strange dogs that are intact vs. not.


many many people...that I would happily donate to spay-neuter clinics to help.

And their little dogs, too.

Dang! Where were you when I had my surgery, and Addy had hers? :)

More seriously, Addy was spayed at fourteen months, when she was physically mature. Partly because the contract required it, and partly because no, I don't have the confidence to choose to manage an adult female in heat. There's also a different balance in the health issues with females than with males. It's clear that it's an overall detriment to male dogs, though in most cases the risks aren't high enough to refrain from neutering if you have a real reason to do it. It's less clear with female dogs.

But it's a major disservice to everyone to pretend that there are no possible downsides to major surgery removing a major organ and a major hormonal system. Most people spay and neuter, and I think most people would STILL spay and neuter with better information--but more people would probably wait for full maturity, and even risk a heat or two, if there were full disclosure.


Well, I don't want to get into a debate on what's naturally right or wrong. Every living being's raison d'etre can be boiled down to reproduction. But sterile individuals do naturally occur in nature and can live an average (and sometimes longer) lifespan. So I don't think neutering an individual (person, dog, insect, plant, whatever) directly results in that individual losing its will to live. Therefore, in my opinion, it is not inherently cruel.


A month ago I took my in-season bitch to a class to act as a demo dog. When I walked in, some people asked about her pants, and I explained she was in season. When someone asked, "Why isn't she fixed?" I replied "Because she's not broken." She's been in season 3x (she's 22mo) and has yet to have a pregnancy because of it. Yes, our lives are a little more constrained a couple of times a year, but we make it work. It's really much easier than I had feared to live with an intact bitch, although I know my life is much easier because I don't have an intact male, too.

Christie Keith

I actually think Ryan makes a fair point, and if I'd gotten in here sooner -- I raced down to SF Raw to get some pastured-raised minced chicken with bones and organs that just came in last night -- I'd have responded by saying I should have reworded my statement that we GIVE reasons that include altruism and health benefits to say that we HAVE reasons that include altruism and health benefits. (Although I don't believe, in the case of males, that the benefits outweigh the risks when it comes to health.)

But I'd also add this: If as a society the main motivation most of us have to s/n our pets was just to control reproduction, we wouldn't have developed only removal of testicles and complete hysterectomies for our pets, but would also have developed vasectomies and uterine removal, or chemical birth control, to a much higher level than they are. We wouldn't see so many people talking about leg-lifting and aggression and roaming and the conversation I had last night with my friend if behavior change wasn't a major motivation for a lot of people to get their male dogs neutered.

I don't mean to over-simplify this issue, but owning an intact pet is an incredibly stigmatized choice these days, and I think the discourse on the subject has gotten sloppy and somewhat devoid of fact and evidence.

And contentious and emotional, as evidenced by this particular thread. I knew this post would be controversial, but this is not the controversy I was expecting. :(

Christie Keith

Shirley, my thought on that idea of Juliette's, bless her cantankerous soul, is this: Bitches between seasons are not that different from spayed bitches. In the wild, estrus will often be suppressed in low-ranking female wolves. I think that's why spaying, although not benign, is associated with fewer,and less serious, health risks than neutering male dogs.

I also think, being anthropomorphic for a moment, that women who've gone through menopause or had hysterectomies still want to live, so I think it's safe to say our bitches do, too. ;)

And one more thing: I've known quite a few neutered males who still were interested in sex, and would breed bitches in season. So I think that kind of contradicts Juliette's view, too.

About half of what she said was just nuts, really. And the other half was solid gold. Sometimes I'm not sure which half was which, though.

Janet Boss

Owning an intact pet is stigmatized by the same people who shriek in horror that we don't all adopt the products of others' irresponsibility rather than purchase from a responsible breeder (I do both, FTR).

It all comes down to what the "real" problems are and the answer is always lack of responsible pet owners. The odds are slim that your dog will reproduce unless planned, if you are an owner who acts responsibly when it comes to stewardship of your pets. Most pets in shelters are not the result of overpopulation, but the result of lack of permanence. I think the shock over having intact pets is that many owners can't fathom living up to the responsibility, even if it may be healthier for their pet.

Susan Fox

I think that part of the problem is that American society in general doesn't do "nuanced" very well. Nor is it easy for distinctions to be drawn. The public, in general, is not educated is science and finds it difficult to exercise critical thinking skills.

One consequence of this is that experts in many, if not most, areas that are covered by the media are stuck making black and white statements:

"Never feed your dog human food", instead of "Don't feed them the fast food crap that you eat, but decent quality human food is ok." or words to that effect.

"Dogs and cats should be neutered", instead of "It depends on many factors, all of which need to be considered before a final decision on this medical procedure is reached."

Not to mention that more than once on this blog, so-called journalists have been called out for writing idiotic, unsubstantiated articles that they clearly did not do any research on.


All that is required to stop a male mammal from reproducing is a vasectomy. Complete casturation is not so why don't vets offer options? Same with bitches. Why can't I just get her uterus removed? I got to keep my ovaries, why can't my bitches keep theirs?

H. Houlahan

But if you want to get a dog from the local shelter, I also have no problem with the shelter requiring gonad-free animals as a precondition of adoption.

You mean the ones they adopt out, right?

The goals of population control (let's call them "public health goals") and the goals of maximizing an individual's well-being are not always in perfect consonance.

A shelter -- which owns the animals before it adopts them out -- can legitimately favor the first over the second, and arguably should. It doesn't have the resources to ensure that every adopted animal is being appropriately confined every second, that no one is puppy-milling with the "stock" they got at the pound. Hence the "nothing with gonads goes out the door" policies of shelters that adopt out dozens or hundreds of animals a week.

An individual breeder can and should be more flexible.

In-between is the small rescue. Ours has been approached before by startup puppymillers looking to score some cheap breeding stock, so that's not just a theoretical bogey.

Our approach is to screen like a mofo, neuter all adults before adoption (I can think of one or two exceptions to that, when the dog was going to someone very well known to us who could get it done more cheaply, or was just willing to pay for it herself), and to require a significant neuter deposit on puppies (which we rarely have, this year being a bit of an anomoly with two litters in rescue) plus some scary provisions in the adoption contract about what happens if the adopter doesn't do it. But we make sure there's time for the pup to mature before the deadline kicks in.

Just today I was speaking to someone who adopted a pup from us this summer, and wondered why she was having the pup spayed as early as she will be, especially in light of this adopter's history of owning intact performance dogs, her expectations for this little spitfire, and her generally nuanced understanding of medical issues.

Turns out her reasons were excellent, having to do with her neighbors' loose dogs and the possibility of her adult males being forced to eat them when the little girl comes into heat and the stakeouts begin.

"Convenience?" I suppose so, though of a higher order -- she would find it inconvenient to be standing in her yard with her estrus bitch on a leash, her toddler at her side, and her male dogs killing the neighbor dogs.

Gina Spadafori

Gosh, how's we miss that once? Vaporized. Thanks for catching it.

Gina Spadafori

That's the funny thing, except it's not really that funny. People with working dogs, show dogs or both live routinely with unaltered dogs, and are well able to manage reproduction, mostly the lack thereof.

The obsession with slicing off or out the bits God gave a dog and screeching that if you don't do so you're "irresponsible" is an American thing.

My boy retriever, Woody, has been bred once, intentionally. The rest of his life he has peacefully co-existed with other intact dogs, and only once (on FayBee's first heat) did he lose it to the point where I send him to camp for a few days so we all could sleep better.

It's not that hard to live with an intact dog, male or female. That's Christie's point: It's not that big a deal to home-prepare meals (for you or your pets), either, but it does take some knowledge or planning. Same for managing canine hormones.

To take the point further: Fast food (for people and dogs) and unchallenged demands for spay-neuter (for dogs), coupled with sedentary lifestyle (for dogs and people) is why we're such an obese country, with all the attendant problems that brings.

McKenzie was spayed after her litter. Since she was bred only once, also intentionally, to a dog in Minnesota and never accidentally, despite having an intact male in the house, her spay was really for my convenience, along with my eternal and probably overbown fear of the likelihood of pyometra.

If I could put her innards back, I would do so in a heartbeat. McKenzie is now always starving, and despite her active life and reduced rations I struggle to keep excess weight off her. Before spaying, she was naturally lean. Now, clearly, these are individual, and unpredictable differences: After Heather was spayed, at 3 and never bred, she never wanted any more food than she needed and maintained a weight within a pound up or down until the day she died.

As Christie has pointed out, the health factors tip towards altering for females; add in the convenience factors and you have a good case for spaying for most bitches.

For male dogs, though, the health leans the other way, slightly, and training and socialization can offset the convenience issues, along with the fence and leash.

Like Christie, I am sick of being lectured about my dog's testicles by people who can do better but insist on feeding garbage food and believing good vet care means "yearly shots." If they're more responsible than I am, we'd be seeing pigs fly.

Melissa Garcia Logan

Propaganda does good and bad. Yes, it oversimplifies issues that can be really quite complex and individualized. Informed consent can take a bit of a drubbing. But it does also protect animals who would otherwise end up victims of ignorance and selfishness--a machine for breeding puppies, without appropriate vet care, training, or nutrition. When we make blatantly terrible decisions, animals suffer for it, so maybe we're in the gray area of the lesser of two evils here, when we talk about spay/neutering.

At what point does the good outweigh the bad in terms of animals spared lives of hardship? Ideally, people will have and be able to use information to make informed decisions, but where people's ideas are skewed by things like poverty, marginalization, conventional wisdom, and the sometimes harsh realities of urban life and modern American society, is slightly mis/underinformed consent better than completely ignorant consent? I do not support mandatory spay/neuter legislation, but I do think that for most people, spaying and neutering their pet is an appropriate choice, given the alternatives.

But back to what started all of this: When it comes down to it, we are all ultimately responsible for our pets' behavior. There are very clear lines of what is acceptable and appropriate and people who don't comprehend those lines need to be taught to respect them. Being a responsible pet owner means, at its very core, providing appropriate supervision to prevent bad behavior. Dogs are not houseplants, you cannot fix it and forget it.

Whether an animal is intact or not should be completely irrelevant in preventing one dog from victimizing another. My dog Luna has a stronger reaction to intact female dogs, and my neutered dog might as well paint a target on his back at the dog park--neither fact has any bearing on my actions. No owner should allow their dog to victimize another, no matter their reproductive status, and you should be paying attention to your dog's signals no matter the company your dog keeps. Period.

H. Houlahan

#Comment by Giselle — December 10, 2010 @ 8:34 pm

Hmmmm ... spam much?

Gina Spadafori

Had the same issue in a rescue retriever years ago, an 11-year-old golden. Prostate problems and a testicular tumor, all fixed jiffy-quick with neutering (his procedure, fortunately, was easy compared to what your foster went through).

Full, happy recovery and the old boy lived to be 16.

But again, it was a consideration of the pros and cons, not an automatic neuter now sort of thing.


This is a complex issue, and as a breeder/owner/dog lover I have mixed emotions. Nobody wants to see dogs die in shelters except maybe the broken shelter industry.

It's much easier, however, to quantify and put a face on 'suffering' in terms of dogs surrendered or euthanized than it is to quanitfy the 'suffering' dogs and owners experience because health problems (increased incidence of cancers, hypothyroidism, hip displasia, etc.) or lower longevity as a result of spay/neuter. Also, the health and behavioral consequences themselves could lead to increased relinquishment.

I posted this to the FB discussion, but it's pretty telling. Rottie bitches spayed before age 4 died 1.5 years earlier than those spayed after age 4 and they were 3x less likely to live to 13 or older as compared to intact bitches.



My in-laws have a sweet little dachsund that is intact. They adopted him when his previous owner died. He's nine years old. He spends his time indoors, or on a leash. When he went in to have his teeth cleaned, the vet suggested that they have him "fixed." My mother-in-law explained to the vet that the dog was not broken and that he probably would not enjoy the procedure very much. "Fixing" that well behaved nine year old dog makes no sense whatsoever!

H. Houlahan

“Fixing” that well behaved nine year old dog makes no sense whatsoever!


But please do be sure to keep an eye on his bathroom habits and monitor for any problem.

I've been left holding the bag for an eight-year-old family dog who lost his home due to divorce.

Poor guy could barely poop because of the long-neglected benign prostate enlargement, which is pretty common in the old guys. Unlike prostate cancer, it is prevented by neutering, or treated if it has already started.

This is no longer treated with female hormones, as the side-effects were often pretty unacceptable. Neutering really did fix him.

I'd have had him neutered anyway, since we were rehoming him, but it was really not an option. Turned out to be an expensive option because of his age, prior medical neglect, and the prostate issue.


My 8 month old will be seeing my vet within two weeks for a 1 year rabies vaccine in order to comply with state law. I will be discussing a vasectomy for him. I had intended to leave him intact vs castration. I believe a vasectomy will be a better option for us both since he's not destined to contribute to his breed's gene pool but will be doing non AKC performance sports.


I've been in European countries where the dogs are mostly intact and the leash laws in parks are far more liberal than they are here.

I didn't see a single dog fight. As a child, I remember that most of the male dogs around were intact--and free roaming-- and they didn't tear each other apart either.


Like Christie, I am sick of being lectured about my dog’s testicles by people who can do better but insist on feeding garbage food and believing good vet care means “yearly shots.”

Gina, why do you let this bother you so much? There’s nothing you can do to change the masses out there. The average dog owner=irresponsible pet owner=ignorant pet owner=Average Joe. Average Joe has ownership of the vast majority of the pets in this country (and others).

--Average Joe never visits a blog like this or any other for that matter to educate themselves

--Average Joe feeds food because of pretty/gimmicky packaging

--Average Joe gets pets vaccinated once a year and feels that is all the medical care they need

--Average Joe doesn’t have a fenced yard, or if they do, doesn’t check it often to make sure it’s still secure

--Average Joe thinks obedience training is only needed for “show” dogs and not theirs

--Average Joe doesn’t own a leash because they don’t walk their dogs to begin with

--Average Joe dumps their pet back at the shelter when it pees in the house

I say, let Average Joe think S/N is necessary for their pets.


As a child, I remember that most of the male dogs around were intact—and free roaming— and they didn’t tear each other apart either.

I remember occasional dog fights--but not many, especially compared to the number of dogs running around off-leash and semi-supervised. And of those, very few were serious, I-want-to-kill-you fights.

Gina Spadafori

I have no problem figuring out why it bothers me: Because it's my job to get correct, accurate information to people who don't have it and who need it. And it's my job because finding and telling the truth is also my passion.

Lying to people, even for their own "good," is just not in my nature.

terry pride

QUOTE, from C.L.H on Dec-10, 9:49-pm:

"When [a 9-YO male Doxie] went in to have his teeth cleaned, the vet suggested that they have him 'fixed'. My mother-in-law explained... that the dog was not broken and... probably would not enjoy the procedure very much. 'Fixing' that well behaved 9-YO dog makes no sense whatsoever!"


actually, precisely because he is 9-YO it is a good idea: he is not a stud, and at his age, avoiding prostate-problems is a definite consideration; the dog will not enjoy prostate-issues if or when they develop, but the owner is the one most-affected.

also, combining the dental with the desex makes perfect sense, by avoiding another general anaesthesia event. waiting until he has prostate symptoms means another GA, increased cost, more risk, etc.

the longer he lives, the more-likely prostate issues [hypertrophy, inability to empty the bladder entirely, painful urination, more UTIs, etc] become. it is unlikely that he will reach 11-YO without some serious complications due to his combo of age + intact.

all my best,

- terry

terry pride, APDT-Aus, APDT#1827, CVA, TDF



My yard isn't fenced.

That makes me an irresponsible owner?


I guess it's good that neither of my dogs are intact then...


—Average Joe doesn’t have a fenced yard, or if they do, doesn’t check it often to make sure it’s still secure.

I don't have a fenced yard. And yet, shockingly, I have a dog. Who could possibly have been mad enough to trust me with one?

A friend of mine has no fenced yard, and three dogs, one of whom is an intact male. And what's more, that dog will remain intact at least until age three.

I guess we're both shockingly irresponsible, and it's pure dumb luck that the 4.5yo, the 7yo, and the 15yo are still alive, and that the intact 10mo hasn't sired an oops litter yet.


KB, Gina wrote: It requires … a leash … a fence … and a responsible owner.

I was merely summarizing the comments on this topic.

Peace, 2Kitties

Gina Spadafori

Let's not start a flame war about fencing. Of COURSE it's completely possible to have a dog without a fenced yard. In fact, I think we've mentioned more than a few times the problems with rescue group and shelters that put ridiculous condition on potential adopters, such as fencing. When I was running Sheltie rescue, I happily placed pets with people who any number of "problems" that would be non-negotiable for some adoption groups/shelters. Like: I placed a year-old puppy with a couple in their 70s. They both outlived her, and I know that because they sent me Christmas cards for 15 years. And a young nurse in an apartment that allowed dogs. Ditto on the cards and the long, happy life for the dog.

Gina Spadafori

I happily edit to: 'It can also be ... a leash ... a fence ... a a responsible owner."

Really, if you have that last thing, that's all you need.


And Average Joe possesses all of the attributes it seems that I listed above, not just one.

"Tis the season to be jolly.....

Christie Keith

Terry, really? Seriously, you think we just remove the testicles from any older dog IN CASE he develops problems with BHP -- a problem, btw, that is nearly always easily controlled with the herb saw palmetto?

I've had many intact male deerhounds live to extreme old age and they never developed BHP.

What are the exact statistics? How do they compare with the risks from surgery, from increased risk of other cancers, such as prostate cancer, known to be higher in neutered males?

Until you know that and a LOT of other data, you can't just come in here and present a single condition that a dog may or may not get as evidence of anything at all.

Christie Keith

2ittybittiekitties, know what I think?

I think most people in this country have pets.
Most people love their pets.
Most people take their pets to the vet and if they don't, it's because they don't see the necessity and/or don't have the money in their budget.
Most people who have pets consider them family members and go so far as to buy them Xmas gifts.
Most people, when they find a stray pet, search diligently to find a no-kill shelter to bring that pet to, because they don't want the pet to be killed.
Most people aren't idiots, sociopaths, or careless jerks.
Most people do the best they can with their kids, cars, homes, jobs, relationships and yes, their pets.
So not only do I not believe we should lie to and manipulate people to get them to do what we think they should do, I think your whole premise is shocking, offensive, harmful and also very, very wrong on a factual basis.

Linda Moore

Why is it that conformation requires dogs to NOT be neutered? I don't know much about conformation, so it would be helpful to know what the rational behind not spaying or neutering is.

In the best interests of the dog's health, males should be neutered to prevent testicular cancer and females to prevent mammary cancer. By not doing so, isn't that saying that the owner's wish to compete in an activity that is oppossed to these life-saving procedures is more important than promoting the long-term health of their dog?

If you truly love your dog, wouldn't you want to do what ever it takes to give it a long,healthy life?

If you love you pets, SPAY or NEUTER!


Linda dear, your research is sorely outdated. Unneutered males outlive their male counterparts by quite a wide spread. Unspayed females the same, although the spread seems to vary widely between breeds.

By the way, responsible owners of intact males "take a peek" down there during regular grooming to make sure everything's good. Testicular cancer is not common, it's easily caught, and easily cured (snip!).

Men get testicular cancer all the time. Wouldn't it therefore, by your logic, be sensible for all males to freeze a large amount of sperm at puberty and remove the testicles? Can't get testicles or accidentally knock up the neighbour's teenage daughter if he doesn't have gonads, right?

Thanks, but I'll take an extended life span, a lower chance of NUMEROUS other more dangerous and far more difficult to detect cancers, lower incidence of ACL injuries, obesity and lower metabolism, behavioural problems (in females) and numerous other issues over "fixing" something that wasn't broken in the first place.

My life is dedicated to and revolves around dogs. If you had done 1/10000th of the research that I have done about the physiology of these animals you would already know the above information. For now, you can start here. And for the record, if you ever suggest that my intact dogs are not loved for the simple reason that they are intact again, my next reply will not be so restrained - and I doubt I'll be the only one who will react that way.



Kim.. could you clarify that.. you mean if a person has an intact animal in the home.. you will not allow a castrated animal from rescue to go to the home because the people may breed the intact animal ( regardless of breed or non breed)? Certainly if we did that in our breed rescue we would have less homes. Does it really matter if they have a intact animal if the rescue animal cannot be bred? Thanks

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