School: SHIPROCK HIGH
Area of Science: Zoology
Abstract: We decided to research the effects of spaying and neutering on the dog population. We see a lot of stray dogs around the Shiprock area and are wondering if it's dangerous. Over the years strays have been reproducing causing overpopulation. The problem is setback by owners not sterilizing their pets. We found that one female dog can have two litters, ranging from six to ten puppies every year. There are no animal shelters in Shiprock meaning that unwanted animals are dumped in different areas to fend for themselves. Low income families are less likely to sterilize their pets and Shiprock is a low income area. On the Navajo Nation, 56.1% of the population is below poverty level, and in 1999, they lowered the number of animal control officers that oversee the entire reservation from fifteen to five, and they have not added any since. There are many tourists that come through Shiprock and after they lowered the animal control officers, tourist started complaining about how sorry they felt for the dogs that they saw wandering around. Tourism is a major part of our economy, and the strays could turn away tourists. This year we hope to research how spaying and neutering can lower the stray dog population and prove ignoring the problem increases it. Using an agent based model, we will visually show how the animal population increases yearly. In our control we will start with two dogs who will mate and have twelve puppies, six male and six female. It shows how the dog population increases every year if none of them are spayed or neutered. One factor we will be changing is the number of puppies sterilized in each generation.
Sponsoring Teacher: Vernetta Noble