ST. LOUIS (Feb. 18, 2015) – The Humane Society of Missouri and Athletes for Animals are teaming up to bring awareness and a solution to pet overpopulation in St. Louis by launching the Spay It Forward Campaign. Spay It Forward challenges the public to help raise $250,000 to allow the Humane Society of Missouri perform 2,500 low- and no-cost spays or neuters.

“Over the past five years, the Humane Society of Missouri has taken in more than 20,000 stray and unwanted animals from St. Louis City alone,” said Kathy Warnick, president of the Humane Society of Missouri. “Spay/neuter is the best solution to the community health and safety problems caused by pet overpopulation.  Together with Athletes for Animals we expect to make a big difference in reducing the number of unwanted, homeless animals in St. Louis.”

“Working with Humane Society of Missouri on the Spay It Forward Campaign is a great fit with our mission,” says David Backes, founder of Athletes for Animals. “Our ambassadors help us broadcast our message of spay and neutering to end the needless suffering of homeless animals. Together, we can make St. Louis a great place for pets.”

To date, Humane Society of Missouri’s Animal Medical Center of Mid-America (AMCMA) has performed more than 350,000 spay and neuters. AMCMA, one of the largest veterinary practices in the Midwest, helps pet owners by offering low-cost spay and neutering programs and provides expert care to both pets in the community and animals in Humane Society of Missouri shelters.

An effective spay/neuter effort helps the community and has positive benefits for individual animals as well.  Spay and neutering can improve a pet’s behavior and save of the cost of pet care by preventing cancers and protecting from diseases. Studies show that states with the healthiest and longest living pets also have the highest spay/neuter rates.

Spay It Forward is being supported by billboards, public service announcements and other advertising materials featuring St. Louis’ own David Backes, Blues captain and founder of Athletes for Animals; Jake Long, offensive tackle for the St. Louis Rams and Trevor Rosenthal, relief pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals. All three are ambassadors for Athletes for Animals whose mission is to educate the public about pet adoption and responsible pet ownership, including the benefits of spay and neutering.

The public can join the team and Spay It Forward by going to the Humane Society of Missouri website to donate and help end pet overpopulation at


  • o   Helps control pet overpopulation. Spaying/neutering is the only way to eliminate pet overpopulation! If more pets are spayed and neutered, there will be fewer stray, homeless, unwanted animals.
  • Better health. Spaying a female (removing the ovaries and uterus) and neutering a male (removing the testicles) are relatively straightforward, inexpensive surgeries which usually require minimal hospitalization. Neutering a male cat or dog by six months of age prevents testicular cancer, prostate disease and hernias. Spaying a female cat or dog helps prevent breast cancer and pyometra, a potentially life-threatening infection of the uterus. Spaying your female pet before her first heat offers the best protection from these diseases.
  • Improved behavior. Spayed and neutered animals often behave better. Because un-neutered males focus their attention on finding a mate, they roam and risk injury in traffic and in fights with other males. They mark their territory by spraying urine on surfaces. They also tend to mount furniture and human legs when stimulated. Un-spayed female cats exhibit annoying signs when in heat, yowling and urinating more frequently and attracting un-neutered males who spray urine around your home.

About Athletes for Animals

Inspired by nearly a decade of animal welfare and rescue efforts, David and Kelly Backes saw the need to expand their efforts and founded Athletes for Animals. Athletes for Animals is a united group of athletes dedicated to making a positive impact on the lives of homeless companion animals nationwide.

The ever-expanding team is encouraged to lend their voices, volunteer at local shelters, attend fundraisers or make charitable donations in pursuit of the ultimate goal – decreasing the homeless pet population by educating the nation about adoption and responsible pet ownership.