Tammy Talley: Susie Schieve column: Feb. 1

Feb. 1—This morning as I went out to fill my bird feeders I noticed the spring bulbs were coming up. Spring is such a beautiful time of year with a new beginning for all living things.

This brought to me the thought of all the puppies and kittens that will be coming to the Humane Society. This would be an easy fix! Yes exactly a fix if cat and dog owners would do the responsible thing and get their dogs and cats neutered and or spayed. It is amazing the number of people that contact me or the shelter needing help with their own pets and feral cats. Many people trap cats and kittens and take them to low cost facilities for spay and neutering, If the kittens are young enough to be socialized they can be brought to the shelter to be adopted. If not they can live outside in their familiar environment and be unable to reproduce.

The other huge problem is the backyard breeders always wanting to make a buck off of their animals. Then when they can not sell and make the big money, they bring them to shelter. We often find puppies or kittens in crates outside of our gates for the employees to find in the morning. Many are left in the rain or the freezing cold .

We give free food to pet owners that are having a hard time financially. We feel that this act of kindness will help a pet stay in their home. One day a man came and requested food. I asked him what breed of dogs he had. He said Pit Bulls. I asked if he breeds his dogs? His reply was yes. I asked him what he did with the puppy money and did that money go for food? He said, "No, I have to pay my rent." Go figure!

My precious Sissy Marie was a breeding Momma. She was brought to the Humane Society at seven years of age by her owner. She had recently had a litter of puppies and still had milk. This sweet frightened Basset Blue Heeler mix was terrified of her new surroundings. John and I had three little boy dogs but we decided we would give this sweet frightened girl a home. The owner told Nikki when she surrendered her that she had been spayed and that she was keeping one of Sissy's puppies and surrendering her. Of course she had not been spayed. At the spay appointment the veterinarian found a small breast cancer which he removed. Breast cancer is quite common in female dogs that are not spayed and have litters of puppies.

We see this often at the shelter. A year ago her cancer came back and she had extensive surgery but unfortunately this horrible monster has come back and she is fighting for her life. We are devastated. We have had three years with this beautiful girl. I did investigate and she is a (designer) breed. Another sad fact of backyard breeders.

Susie Schieve, executive director of the Madison County Humane Society, writes a column that appears the first Thursday of each month. She can be reached through sydneyschieve@aol.com or the Humane Society at 2219 Crystal St., Anderson.