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World Spay Day: Today

World Spay Day
Dr. Rick Upshaw neuters a male cat with the help of volunteer Holly Thompson on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012, at the Central Kansas Veterinary Center in South Hutchinson, Kan., as part of their World Spay Day effort. Approximately 80 feral cats from 12 colonies around Reno County were sterilized. (AP Photo/The Hutchinson News, Lindsey Bauman)
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Dr. Rick Upshaw neuters a male cat with the help of volunteer Holly Thompson on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012, at the Central Kansas Veterinary Center in South Hutchinson, Kan., as part of their World Spay Day effort. Approximately 80 feral cats from 12 colonies around Reno County were sterilized. (AP Photo/The Hutchinson News, Lindsey Bauman)

Today is World Spay Day, a day aimed at raising awareness of essential animal care.

World Spay Day kicks off on the last Tuesday of February every year and is the annual campaign of The HSUS and Humane Society International spotlighting spay/neutering.

The Humane Society International describes spay/neuter as “A proven way to save the lives of companion animals, feral cats, and street dogs who might otherwise be put down in a shelter or killed on the street,” on their website.

The day dedicated to raising spay/neuter awareness was first founded in 1995 as Spay Day USA by Doris Day Animal League (now a partner of World Spay Day) and Doris Day Animal Foundation. The celebration has grown tremendously over the years and today is celebrated in 46 countries with events like low and no-cost spay/neuter services and fundraisers.

“The overpopulation of cats, dogs and other pets is a global problem and it’s gratifying to see that caring people the world over are working to raise awareness that spay/neuter is the solution,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States in a statement.

Today hundreds of World Spay Day events kick off across the globe.

“The day creates a worldwide wave of spay/neuter awareness and activity by linking together hundreds of events organized by local animal welfare organizations and advocates, as well as by veterinary professionals through The HSUS’ veterinary affiliate Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association,” reads the Humane Society International website.

In celebration, the Humane Society International is also hosting a special contest in the special day’s honor called The World Spay Day Photo Contest in which anyone can enter by uploading a digital photo of your pet and describing him or her for others to see and vote on.

The online pet contest runs from Feb. 1 to 31 that raises funds for spaying and neutering while at the same time reportedly, awarding participants prizes.

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