Spaying and neutering pets is important for many reasons. It prevents unwanted litters and also reduces the risk for a variety of pet behavioral issues and health conditions. More than 2.7 million healthy, adoptable cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters annually. Spaying and neutering is the only permanent, 100 percent effective method of birth control for dogs and cats.

This month is devoted to spaying and neutering in southeast Louisiana. Louisiana SNIP, an initiative by Louisiana Partners in Animal Welfare, is a one-month effort involving local veterinarians, rescue groups and shelters to spread the message of the benefits of spaying and neutering and to make an impact on animal overpopulation in the area.

Throughout October, spaying and neutering for feral cats is free and includes ear tip and rabies vaccination; $10 for companion cats and includes microchip and rabies vaccination; and $50 for companion dogs and includes microchip and rabies vaccination.

Spaying and neutering not only helps with the pet overpopulation problem but also reduces the risk of health conditions such as testicular cancer in male dogs and uterine infections and breast cancer in female cats. Altered pets also are less likely to mark in the home or try to escape the yard.

Other behavioral problems that can be eliminated by spaying and neutering include aggression (studies show that most dog bites involve dogs that are unaltered), excessive barking, mounting and other dominance-related behaviors.

Visit www.louisianasnip.com to learn about the benefits of spaying and neutering and to see the list of participating veterinarians in the area.

Events

PIT BULLS ON PARADE: During October, the Louisiana SPCA will offer a reduced adoption fee of $25 for all pit bulls 6 months and older. Regular adoption procedures apply. To view the animals available for adoption and to learn more about Pit Bulls on Parade, visit www.la-spca.org/adoptables.

FERAL CAT TNR: A free humane education course for people with neighborhood cats will be held from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Louisiana SPCA, 1700 Mardi Gras Blvd., New Orleans. “Feral Cat TNR: The Basics and Beyond” will provide information about the importance of trap-neuter-return, the basic methods and equipment, and resources for low-cost spaying and neutering and trap rental or purchase. To reserve a spot, call (504) 762-3306. For information, visit www.la-spca.org/tnrclass.

HEARTWORM FUND: A Save a Heart tag sale will be held Saturday and Sunday at the Louisiana SPCA, 1700 Mardi Gras Blvd., New Orleans. Tag sale hours will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. Pet adoption hours will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. A bake sale will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. For information, call (504) 368-5191 or visit www.la-spca.org.

LAFRENIERE PARK PET FEST: The Jefferson SPCA will hold its eighth annual Pet Fest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at Lafreniere Park in Metairie. More than 40 shelter and rescue groups will present a mega adopt-a-thon, with hundreds of homeless pets. There will be performances by Megan Linsey, a finalist on “The Voice,” and by Norman the Scooter Dog, and live music from Remedy and The Top Cats. Veterinarians will share pet care advice in the Pet Health Watch area. For information, email jacob@jeffersonspca.org.

LOST OR FOUND PETS: In Orleans Parish, you can send a photo, description of your pet, date lost/found and your contact information to lostandfound@la-spca.org.

In Jefferson Parish, email molsen@jeffparish.net and bbourgeois @jeffparish.net, and in St. Bernard Parish, email cluna@sbpg.net.

Traci D. Howerton is social media editor of Animal Rescue New Orleans. Contact ARNO at animalrescuecolumn@gmail.com, www.animalrescueneworleans.org or call its recorded information line at (504) 571-1900.