February is "National Prevent a Litter Month" and Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter (FAAS) urges you to spay or neuter your pet. It's the right thing to do for them and for our community.

Did you know that when pets are not spayed or neutered the number of offspring could overwhelm a community? A pair of breeding cats can have two or more litters per year, and can exponentially produce 420,000 offspring over a seven-year period. Each year, shelters like our Alameda Animal Shelter are overrun with stray and surrendered animals. Preventing a litter by spaying or neutering your pet prevents this pet overpopulation problem.

There are other important reasons to spay or neuter your pet. Your female pet will enjoy a longer healthier life because spaying helps prevent uterine infections and breast cancer. This disease is lethal in approximately 50 percent of dogs and 90 percent in cats. When a female is spayed, she will not go into heat, sparing you the frustration of your pet escaping to mate. Neutered males are often much better behaved than non-neutered ones and less likely to become an escape artist.

Speaking of "litters," kitten season is right around the corner and, when it starts, FAAS will need fosters to care for the kittens until they can be neutered or spayed. If you can help during this period, please contact the volunteer manager, Cindy Shelby at 510-337-8575.

Here are a couple of upcoming FAAS events:

Feb. 13 -- Tip-A-Cop, a fundraiser at Applebee's, in the South Shore Center from 6:30-9 p.m. Alameda Police Chief Mike Noonan and fellow officers are raising needed funds for the animals at the shelter. All tips to the officers will be given to FAAS.

Feb. 20 -- Pet Loss Support Group is from 6:30-8 p.m. at the FAAS shelter, 1590 Fortmann Way, Alameda, led by Jill Goodfriend, RN, LCSW. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Jill at 510-393-1359.

For more information on either of these events, visit the FAAS website at http://www.alamedaanimalshelter.org/ or you can call 510-337-8565.

PET OF THE WEEK: MIA is a 3-year-old white poodle mix with a cute face and a sweet personality.

DOG ALLEY: There are 19 dogs available for adoption at the Alameda Animal Shelter.

CLEO is a 1-year-old female black-and-tan Miniature Pinscher who is smart and cute.

WALLY is a 1-year-old, wonderful, black-and-white Welsh Corgi and Australian cattle dog mix.

CAT LAIR: There are 35 cats and kittens available for adoption at the Alameda Animal Shelter.

AUBURN is a gorgeous tortoise shell with long fluffy fur who is about 5 years old and is super friendly.

NATHAN is a large declawed black-and-white male, about 3 years old, who loves to be loved.

RABBIT ROW: PUTI, a 5 year-old New Zealand white, and HOLLY a 4-year-old mini-lop, are both in foster care. Contact the shelter for more information on these rabbits.

Mim Carlson, Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter's executive director, is filling in while Linda Treml is away. Visit the Alameda Animal Shelter at 1590 Fortmann Way at Grand Street, call the shelter at 510-337-8565 or visit petharbor.com to view the animals.