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Fear not, animal activists: Obamas' dog Bo is already neutered

April 13, 2009 |  6:46 pm

Bo, the First Dog, as a six-and-a-half-week-old puppy When news broke of the Obamas' newest family member, Bo the Portuguese water dog, some in the animal rights and animal welfare communities were dismayed to learn that the pup came from a breeder rather than a shelter or rescue group. Although the Obamas didn't buy Bo from his breeder (he was purchased as a puppy by a family who later returned him), the strictest definition of "rescue dog" clearly doesn't apply. 

PETA's Ingrid Newkirk, in a letter to the president, writes that she finds it "disquieting that your decision to get a 'purebred' dog from a breeder will inspire others to do the same and that the subtlety of acquiring a dog who had a home but originally came from a breeding kennel may be lost on most people," but she notes that the group is gratified with the First Family's plan to make a donation to the Washington Humane Society.

Newkirk further urges Obama to have Bo neutered, quipping, "[s]ex in the White House has been the topic of past scandals, but with a simple 'snip,' the first dog can set a new tone and a great example."

But Newkirk's letter may have been sent a bit prematurely, according to U.S. News & World Report's Washington Whispers blog:

The White House seems to have beaten PETA to the punch. They tell Whispers that Bo has already been neutered.

PETA blogger Alisa Mullins writes that the group is "thrilled" to learn that Bo is already neutered.  PETA hopes the Obamas will "scream it from the rooftops to send the message … and encourage people to adopt a mutt, because while they may have been in a peculiar position with Malia's allergies, most people are not," Mullins says in an update to her earlier post about the First Dog.

--Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Bo at his breeders' home as a 6 1/2-week-old puppy.  Credit: Art Stern/Associated Press.

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