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Cook County is offering residents a $40 discount this month on having a dog or cat spayed or neutered.

February is National Spay and Neuter Month, and County Board President Toni Preckwinkle ways pet owners select the veterinarian of their choice to do the procedure.

The pets need proof of a current rabies vaccination and the rebate will be offered for up to two pets per resident.

“Spaying and neutering is good for your pet and good for the community,” Preckwinkle said in a news release.

“The procedure not only helps your pet live a longer, healthier life, it benefits the community because it reduces the number of strays and unwanted animals in our neighborhoods. Communities spend millions of tax dollars every year providing care for animals abandoned on the streets.”

Every year, millions of cats and dogs are euthanized or suffer as strays as a result of unplanned litters that could have been prevented by spaying or neutering.

“The procedure also adds to the quality and length of a pet’s life,” said Dr. Donna Alexander, director of the Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control. “On average, a spayed or neutered pet lives three to five years longer. More than 4,000 dogs and cats are spayed or neutered annually through the Cook County program.”

Spaying and neutering have been proven to reduce the risk of some types of cancers in pets. It also completely eliminates certain life-threatening bacterial infections.

The surgeries are performed by a veterinarian while the animals are under general anesthesia so they do not feel any pain.

Top: Dr. Donna Alexander, director of Cook County Animal and Rabies Control, with her pet Leroy Brown, who is neutered and is showing off his current rabies tag.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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