National survey finds both high neutering rate and indifference
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 1993:
Newly published statistics collected last November by the polling firm Penn &
Schoen Associates shed new light on the human aspects of pet overpopulation.
Interviewing 803 randomly selected Americans who had owned pets within the preceding
five years, Penn & Schoen found that 77% of cat owners and 58% of dog owners had
neutered their animals. Five percent of cat owners and 11% of dog owners were intention-
al breeders, but the data, published in the May 1993 edition of Shelter Sense, did not dis-
tinguish between breed fanciers, who may breed only once in several years, and backyard
commercial breeders, who in effect run small-scale puppy mills and catteries.
Approximately 12% of cat owners and 31% of dog owners would appear to be accidental
breeders, responsible for producing at least one unwanted litter per animal (although with
what frequency the unwanted litters are born was not clear).
The Penn & Schoen telephone poll also asked owners of unaltered pets why they
did not have them neutered. Among this group, 23% percent of dog owners and 31% of
cat owners said neutering is unnecessary; 26% of dog owners and 14% of cat owners
cited interest in breeding; and 4% of dog owners (1.7% of all dog owners) and 11% of cat
owners (2.5% of all cat owners) said neutering is too expensive.
This information corroborates recent findings in similar polls commissioned by
the Massachusetts SPCA and the Humane Society of Vero Beach (Florida). The most sig-
nificant differences found in the MSPCA poll were that none of the MSPCA respondents
thought neutering a dog is too expensive, and 87% of the cat owners had neutered their
animals. The Vero Beach poll differed most notably in that 53% of the owners of unal-
tered dogs wanted to breed them––twice the national average. Although the percentages
of MSPCA and HSVB respondents who complained about the cost of neutering cats were
higher in each case than the national average, the range was only up to 4% of the total
number of cat owners.
The Penn & Schoen survey was paid for by the Humane Society of the U.S.