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Overbreeding has created a surplus of nearly 50 million dogs and cats. These animals are unwanted and homeless. Some of them--the lucky ones--will get a quick, merciful death at humane society shelters. Most, however, haven't even the hope of being reached and protected from suffering in the 3,000 or more communities without humane societies. Instead, they roam the country--starving, thirsting, suffering from disease and injury.

This is suffering on a massive scale. Many factors contribute to it. Commercial interests like pet shops, for example, are partly to blame in suggesting there is money in breeding puppies and kittens. Veterinarians who charge high fees for spaying female animals and altering males are partly at fault.

But most of the blame lies with misguided animal lovers and humane societies that adopt out unneutered dogs and cats.