Spring temperatures invite us outdoors - to walk, ride bicycles and work in our yards.
Those activities also bring encounters with unfamiliar dogs.
Will the animals be aggressive - perhaps bite? Are they a threat to adults, children or other animals? Will they dig up flowers, overturn trash containers, mess in the yard?
These unwanted dogs - and cats, too - aren't trying to be a menace. They simply are trying to survive another day with no one providing food and water, grooming and shelter, attention and love.
The Heart of Missouri Humane Society continues its campaign to encourage responsible pet ownership and to extol the virtues of spaying and neutering pets.
Spaying and neutering - a surgical procedure to prevent reproduction - carries a one-time cost, but is a small price in comparison to the benefits for pets, owners and the community.
Let's focus on some of the community benefits enumerated by the humane society. They include:
• Lower costs for taxpayers. Jefferson City and Cole County personnel operate vehicles to capture and return unwanted animals to a tax-supported animal shelter. Reducing the problem and population of unwanted pets reduces costs.
• Personal safety. Recent news reports have included episodes of dogs biting people, as well as attacking other dogs. Pets that have been spayed or neutered are less aggressive and less likely to fight or bite on occasions when they get loose.
• Less aggravation. Stray and unwanted animals may trash private property, travel in packs and intimidate people simply trying to enjoy the outdoors.
Responsible pet owners who have their dogs and cats spayed or neutered contribute to our community by enhancing health, safety and quality of life.