The first week in October, I witnessed two stray dogs in my front yard in Southampton. I could see no collar or tags on either of them.
One resembled a Labrador and had low hanging breasts, indicative of a nursing female. She was accompanied by larger brown dog that had a boxer-like look. They did not show any signs of aggression as I tried to coax them onto my porch. Despite my best efforts, they made a beeline across my neighbor’s yard and into the woods beyond. I drove around the neighborhood but could not locate them again. This disturbed me.
Later that week, I was speaking to a friend who is running this year’s New York City Marathon, to raise money and awareness for the North Shore Animal League. I told her about my encounter with the two stray dogs and she told me something that blew my mind:
“If not spayed or neutered, a stray dog, her mate and their offspring could produce 66,000 dogs within a span of six years.”
Yes that is correct—66,000 dogs! On the surface, this defies logic. But don’t be fooled—it’s 100 percent true. As a fact check, I googled in the number of offspring a female dog and her offspring can produce in 6 years. Online, The Oxford-Lafayette Humane Society reports an even higher number at 67,000 dogs in 6 years. Either way, that’s a lot of doggies!
Can you imagine another 66,000-plus stray dogs on the East End? And that is just from one mated pair and their pups.
Is it possible that by 2021, there will be more stray dogs on the East End than people?
In the movie Jaws, Roy Scheider exclaims, “You’re going to need a bigger boat.” In the case of a potential increase of this many stray dogs, we are going to need more money, shelter beds and many more adopters.
I do not know how this is going to turn out. What I do know is that an estimated 8 million-plus dogs and cats enter U.S. Animal Shelters each year and less than half of them make it out alive. So let’s get out there and adopt! Let’s make sure our best friends are spayed or neutered. And let’s support the North Shore Animal League, which is the world’s largest no-kill animal adoption and rescue organization.
P.S. Cats have even a higher rate of proliferation, with the potential of 420,000 offspring in just 7 years.