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Surrendering pets to shelters: the relinquisher's perspective

By N. DiGiacomo, A. Arluke, G. Patronek

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Abstract

The intention of this research was not to justify the relinquishment of pets to shelters, but to provide a detailed and impartial view of the relinquisher's perspective. This perspective, as revealed in 38 interviews, was contrary to the view of relinquishment that commonly prevails in shelter cultures; namely, that their decisions are trivial or casual. These interviews exposed a processes that began long before releases were signed and animals were turned over to shelter staff. All of the individuals and families interviewed struggled with the decision to give up their pets. This struggle often manifested as procrastination, as attachment issues and negative perceptions of shelters were balanced against the circumstances threatening the pet's position in the family. Attempts at resolution made by poorly informed pet owners were frequently inefficient and consequently unsuccessful. Owners commonly tolerated circumstances until the reasons for relinquishment overcame attachment and negative perceptions of shelters.

Date 1998
Publication Title Anthrozoos
Volume 11
Issue 1
Pages 41-51
ISBN/ISSN 0892-7936
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/089279398787000878
Language English
Author Address Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, North Grafton, USA.
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Tags
  1. Cats
  2. Dogs
  3. Euthanasia
  4. Mammals
  5. peer-reviewed
  6. Pets and companion animals
  7. shelters
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  1. peer-reviewed