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by Abigail Van Buren

Controlling Pet Population Should Be as Easy as Pie

DEAR ABBY: I'm a longtime reader with a question I have never seen in your column: Why don't they put something in pet food to keep dogs and cats from getting pregnant? Then people could control the pet population and it would stop the killing. -- HARRISONBURG, VA., READER

DEAR READER: Your idea is intriguing. However, the reason that contraceptive pet food doesn't exist may have something to do with the cost. Also, the effective dose might vary according to the size and weight of the animals. If a Great Dane wasn't feeling particularly hungry one day, it could wind up a "little" bit pregnant. (Conversely, a Chihuahua with a large appetite could end up sterile for life.)

Seriously, I took your question to Dr. John Winters, a respected veterinarian in Beverly Hills, Calif., who told me there are research trials going on involving oral contraceptives to control the wild animal population, such as coyotes. If one day it is made available for domestic pets, it would have to be by prescription only and dispensed by a veterinarian to ensure the dosage is correct.