Operation Pit reports 80 shelter pit/mixes euthanized in 2014

By Connie A. Hewitt | Feb 07, 2015
Photo by: Susan Kumpf Operation Pit provides free surgery, rabies vaccination, and microchip protection against theft.  Another 80 pit/mixes were put down at the county shelter last year, 25 percent of all dogs euthanized.

The much-maligned breed of pit bulls and pit/mixes suffered another 80 losses in 2014 through shelter euthanasia. Pit/mixes are the most likely breed to enter the shelter, representing 18 percent of dog intakes last year.

They also are the least likely breed to leave. One in four or 25 percent of the 320 shelter dogs euthanized last year in Haywood County were pits and pit/mixes.

Haywood Spay/Neuter's Operation Pit project promotes a healthier, litter-free dog.  Operation Pit recruits are less likely to be taken to the shelter because of reproductive or aggression issues. Recruits receive free spay/neuter, rabies vaccination and microchip protection against theft.

Most pit owners need financial help and encouragement when it comes to neutering their pets. Nearly all (98 percent) of pit recruits have owners on some type of government assistance, with most below the 300 percent Federal Poverty Guidelines.

Since January 2013, nearly 400 pit recruits have benefited from spay/neuter and the project has only just begun. Of the 78 pit/mixes rescued from the shelter by their owners last year, only three were fixed. Spay/neuter reduces an animal's desire to roam, keeping them closer to home and out of the shelter.

Do you really know pit bulls?

  • Pit bull type dogs have first heat by 6 months old, with litters from 5-10 puppies twice a year.
  • Females age 3-5 years have the largest litters — 12 puppies is common.
  • Regardless of breed, unspayed females and unneutered males are many times more likely to attack than fixed dogs.
  • Fix by 4 months to prevent two out of three "oops" litters.

Haywood Spay/Neuter is currently recruiting pit bull type dogs for spay/neuter and vaccination, including a free microchip to protect against theft. Enlistment hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday at 182 Richland St., Waynesville.

Other projects benefiting the pets of Haywood County include HS/N's $10 Beat the Heat surgery promotion for dogs and cats three months and older, including rabies.  With new litters about to arrive, HS/N's Kittens2Barns project is perfect for whole litters needing safe shelter and mice to hunt. Clean barns are needed for free rodent control.

The trap-neuter-return (TNR) project celebrates its seventh consecutive year in 2015 with over 4,000 free-roaming cats fixed since 2009, reducing shelter cat intakes by half since 2008 — a record low. Call the TNR stray/neuter hotline at 400-5981 for help with outdoor cats.

Haywood Spay/Neuter is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit serving the community by providing low-cost spay/neuter services and animal wellness programs. Its wellness program includes a wormer clinic from noon to 3 p.m. every Tuesday, providing low-cost doses to control roundworms in dogs and cats.  Call 452-1329 for more information on HS/N's programs, to volunteer, or to register a pet for surgery.