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The ISPCA is urging pet owners to spay or neuter their pets as early as possible to reduce the high number of unwanted cats and dogs. The charity is asking the public to consider the positive benefits encouraging pet owners to talk to their vet as soon as possible.

Recent statistics released by the ISPCA reveals that animal cruelty is at an all-time high and some of the complaints investigated by ISPCA Inspectors could have easily been prevented by neutering or spaying their pets. Last year was a record year for the ISPCA in terms of Inspectors dealing with the indiscriminate breeding of cats, with almost 350 felines seized by or surrendered to ISPCA Inspectors.  Sixty-nine cats and kittens were removed from one property alone and many of these appalling situations could have been prevented if owners had been responsible by neutering or spaying their pets. 

ISPCA CEO Dr Andrew Kelly said: “In nearly all cases, spaying and neutering has overwhelmingly positive benefits but it also prevents accidental litters of kittens or puppies which, can also be challenging in finding good homes. It is absolutely vital that pet owners’ play their part by spaying and neutering their pets and this will go a long way in preventing unwanted litters of puppies or kittens from being born in the first place”. 

Dr Kelly added: “Our three animal Centres’ are consistently full to capacity and with very limited resources, we have had to use private boarding kennels to help the number of animals waiting to come in, once space becomes available. We are urging pet owners to contact their vet today and get the procedure done. Don’t wait to do what’s best for your pet”.


Best-selling author and model Rosanna Davison, author and vet Pete Wedderburn is supporting the ISPCA’s message highlighting the benefits of neutering and spaying.  Rosanna said:  “We can all make a difference by being responsible and doing the right thing for our pets by getting them neutered as early as possible.  You will be giving your pet(s) the best chance of a longer, healthier and happier life”.



SpayAware has the continued support of Veterinary Ireland, with member vets displaying posters and fact sheets in animal clinics and surgeries across the country. Posters are also being displayed in animal welfare centres, local authority offices, dog pounds, pet stores and other community venues will be available for download soon:

The ISPCA is also recommends anyone thinking about getting a new pet to give a rescued animal a chance by adopting a cat or dog from the ISPCA or another animal welfare charity. All ISPCA rescued cats and dogs will already be spayed or neutered and puppies/kittens will be when they are old enough. For more information about adopting a dog from the ISPCA, visit

Download the Spay Aware Dog Q&A pdf

Download the Spay Aware Cat Q&A pdf

Some facts about the benefits of spaying and neutering your pet:

  • Reduces the risk of certain cancers
  • Positive effect on health and lifespan
  • Curbs unwanted behaviour and marking
  • Your pet will be less aggressive towards other cats and dogs and less likely to try and wander
  • Prevents unwanted litters of kittens and puppies
  • Spaying reduces the risk of mammary cancers in female dogs from 70% to 0.5% if they are spayed before first heat
  • Un-spayed cats are seven times more likely to develop mammary cancers than those spayed at puberty. 80% of feline mammary tumours are malignant.
  • Testicular cancer is the second most common cancer among male dogs. Neutering eliminates that risk.
  • Neutering reduces fighting and unwanted territorial behaviour in male cats by over 80%.
  • Spaying/Neutering is a very simple procedure completed under anaesthetic and the recovery time is usually very quick.  Your cat or dog will need to be dropped off at the vets, and picked up again later that same day.
  • Puppies should be neutered or spayed at five to six months of age, though large or giant dog breeds require more time to develop so you should always seek advice from your vet.
  • Kittens should be neutered or spayed at four months of age.

Download the Better to Neuter Poster.pdf

Talk to your vet to see what is best for your pet


Research was carried out by the ISPCA on the Perceptions of Responsible Dog Ownership in Ireland*.  Respondents were asked to indicate a list of scenarios on the necessity and health impacts of neutering, and the appropriate age and here are the findings:

  • Over 60% agreed with the statement that neutering is necessary even “when the dog is confined to the home/is always supervised”.
  • Non-dog owners (potential dog owners) expressed uncertainty regarding some aspects of neutering:
    •  Whether or not neutering is appropriate when the dog is younger than six months (males = 52%, females = 56%).
    • Whether or not a neutering cost of €100 is expensive (males = 42%, females = 29%).
    • Whether or not neutering is necessary when the dog is confined to the home/is always supervised (males = 52%, females = 56%).
  • Approximately 40% of dog owners felt that neutering puppies (less than six months old) was inappropriate. 

*The report was compiled by Catherine Devitt, Locksley Messam, Andrew Kelly & Alison Hanlon in May 2016 and based on a study funded by the Irish Research Council’s New Foundation Scheme.  The authors acknowledge the financial support of the Irish Research Council.  The authors express their gratitude to those who contributed to piloting the survey, and all respondents who took the time to commence and complete the survey.

Read the full report here

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