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Understanding animal companion surplus in the United States: relinquishment of nonadoptables to animal shelters for euthanasia

By P. H. Kass, J. C. New, J. M. Scarlett, M. D. Salman

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Abstract

Relinquishing a nonhuman animal to a shelter is a complex decision that, it is often believed, ultimately may represent a breakdown of the human-animal bond. The result of such a breakdown is an animal companion surplus in the United States, which is no better evidenced than by the statistics documenting the millions of animals euthanized at shelters every year. This research examined the companion animals who are relinquished by their owners to shelters for adoption and compared them specifically to those relinquished for euthanasia. The study also compared the owner characteristics of the animals in these two groups. Although the majority of dogs and cats relinquished are clearly adoptable, a sizable number of these pets presented to shelters for euthanasia have problems precluding their adoptability: old age, illness, and refractory behavior.

Publication Title Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Volume 4
Issue 4
Pages 237-248
ISBN/ISSN 1088-8705
Publisher Taylor & Francis
DOI 10.1207/S15327604JAWS0404_01
Language English
Author Address Department of Population Health and Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.
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Tags
  1. Adoption
  2. Animal rights
  3. Animals
  4. Animal welfare
  5. Attitudes
  6. Canidae
  7. Canine
  8. Carnivores
  9. Cats
  10. Developed countries
  11. Dogs
  12. Euthanasia
  13. Mammals
  14. North America
  15. OECD countries
  16. peer-reviewed
  17. Pets and companion animals
  18. population control
  19. Public opinion
  20. United States of America
  21. vertebrates
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  1. peer-reviewed