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Local animal rescue group urges spay, neuter of new pets

Lori Todd of Mutts and More shows off Holly Noel, a mastiff mix puppy, left, and Madea, a chihuahua puppy. Todd said a lot of people thinking about getting a dog for the new year should consider cost, time and breed temperament before making a commitment.

Lori Todd of Mutts and More shows off Holly Noel, a mastiff mix puppy, left, and Madea, a chihuahua puppy. Todd said a lot of people thinking about getting a dog for the new year should consider cost, time and breed temperament before making a commitment.

CONYERS -- A local dog rescuer recommends that people consider the type of breed, cost and the time commitment before making a dog part of their new year.

Lori Todd of Mutts and More Inc., a local dog rescue organization, said her concern this year is the impulse people may have to adopt a dog when they may not have considered all that is involved in pet ownership.

"I've got a Great Dane and it costs $200 a month just to feed him alone, but then I have a Chihuahua puppy that may not be good with children," she said. "The Chihuahua would be fine, but young children can hurt a dog unintentionally."

Todd recommends doing some research beforehand and understanding the temperament of different breeds. She noted the Jack Russell terrier is a popular breed but has a lot of energy and needs a lot of attention.

Older dogs are also an option to consider.

"Everybody seems to assume that a dog coming from a rescue group or animal shelter has a list of problems, and many times that is not the case," she said. "Senior citizens make great pet owners, so you should consider a senior dog. They're a little bit calmer and are likely to be house trained already."

She added that everyone needs to ask whether they have time, space and money for the dog. Todd recommends saving at least $200 each year in case of pet emergencies or other health issues.

"You need to consider cost. You need to consider the needs of your family; time is an issue," Todd said. "If you live in an apartment, a Lab or German shepherd is not the dog for you and maybe a smaller breed will work better."

Also, Todd said to check your lease agreement if you rent or live in an apartment. Policies differ from one place to another, although most apartment complexes require a pet deposit.

Todd is a dog lover who has volunteered her Conyers house as a foster home for pets for years with local rescue group For Paws Sake. This year, she started her own rescue group, Mutts and More Inc. and focuses on finding homes for dogs in Rockdale and Newton counties.

This holiday season a Chihuahua came to Todd's house from Rockdale County Animal Care and Control. The dog gave birth to three puppies, named Tyler, Perry and Madea.

Todd added that spaying or neutering procedures should always be factored into the cost of adopting a dog.

The Chihuahua mother, named Minerva by local school students helping Todd, came into the shelter with a male Chihuahua that Todd believes is the father. Todd said the adult dogs are housebroken, so apparently they belonged to somebody who may have not been prepared to care for the puppies.

Todd said through working with the Rockdale animal shelter she was able to find homes for all of the Chihuahuas. However, while these dogs found new homes, Todd said there are many others without homes.

The bad economy is forcing many residents to give up their pets to animal control, but Todd added not getting pets spayed or neutered also adds to the problem of too many unwanted pets.

"If you are unable or unwilling to spay or neuter you pet, you should not get one," she said. "It's just that simple."