Why do rescues require a dog to be fixed before adopting them out?

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Edit 5-21-16

Since posting this article I have been exposed to a litany of research regarding the dangers involved w/ early spay/neuter.  I had to make a choice regarding this post.  In light of the evidence, my position has somewhat drastically changed, I could remove the post and pretend like it never happened, or I could write this caveat and leave it the way it is.  I, obviously, chose the latter.  I believe that being close minded and obstinate in one’s beliefs is the cause of many of the problems that our world faces.  Being open to new evidence, contrary to my beliefs, is intergral in growing as a dog owner, in this case, and a human being, in the rest of life.  So with that, I am now lobbying our local rescue organizations to switch sterilization methods(it is law in FL that dogs have to be sterilized before adoption) to Ovary Sparing Spay(females) and vasectomy(males).  These procedures leave the testes/ovaries intact and, therefore, avoid many of the major issues associated with spay/neuter.  I will be advocating this position with other rescues that may be interested in learning how to set our dogs up for the very best and healthy life possible.


A few days ago I was participating in a discussion on a Facebook group to which I belong. The question that was posed was along the lines of “How do I deal with a rescue that insists on spaying/neutering early”.

While not, in and of itself, a bad thing, I found myself becoming more and more annoyed as I read through the responses. People were accusing the rescue of everything from being cruel to irresponsible. I reacted in the discussion but I felt the need to express how strongly I feel about this issue.

Anyone who has participated in any facet of life can tell you that there is an enormous cross section of society that will say one thing and do the complete opposite, in most cases these very same people will put a huge amount of effort into lying if it helps them to get what they want.

I wasn’t sure of the exact number so I looked it up, a little over 10,000 dogs are euthanized every single day in the United States. I didn’t add an extra zero by accident either, that is ten thousand lives that are ended on a daily basis in this country. While there are individual risks associated with early spay and neuter, it is not anywhere near a foregone conclusion that those dogs are going to have health issues in their lifetime. In fact, an overwhelming majority, live healthy, happy, completely normal lives.

I will tell you what is a guarantee though, the dogs that sit in shelters because of “accidental” breeding are most definitely going to be euthanized. The dogs that are exploited for monetary gain, “designer breeds” are notorious for this, that are surrendered are going to be euthanized. There is a 100% chance that those dogs will lose their lives because of a human.

There are so many dogs in this world that are without homes because of irresponsibility and/or willful ignorance. When a rescue requires that a dog be fixed before it is adopted, it is for a very good reason. Most, if not all, rescues work towards a day when there services are no longer required. To even get in the ballpark of that goal, we have to make sure that we do our very best to protect all of our dogs for their whole lives.