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A scoping review of published research on the relinquishment of companion animals

By J. B. Coe, I. Young, K. Lambert, L. Dysart, L. N. Borden, A. Rajic

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Globally, large populations of companion animals are relinquished each year. The purpose of this scoping review was to identify all published research investigating companion-animal relinquishment to map out and evaluate research gaps, needs, and opportunities. A comprehensive search strategy was implemented in 4 online databases, identified citations were screened, and relevant articles were procured and characterized. From 6,848 unique citations identified, 192 were confirmed relevant, including 115 primary-research articles and 77 reviews and commentaries. The majority of these articles originated from the United States (131; 68.2%); 74 (38.5%) of them have been published since 2006. Among the primary-research articles, 84 (73.0%) investigated reasons for companion-animal relinquishment. The most commonly studied reasons were aggressive companion-animal behaviors (49; 58.3%); moving, rental, or housing issues (45; 53.6%); and caretaker personal issues (42; 50.0%). Only 17 primary-research articles investigated interventions to prevent companion-animal relinquishment. The quantity of research into reasons for relinquishment highlights an opportunity for future knowledge-synthesis activities in this area, including systematic review and meta-analysis. In comparison, the limited research into interventions identifies a priority for new research.

Publication Title Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Volume 17
Issue 3
Pages 253-273
ISBN/ISSN 1088-8705
Publisher Taylor & Francis
DOI 10.1080/10888705.2014.899910
Language English
Author Address Department of Population Medicine, University of Guelph, 50 Stone Road East, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1,
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal housing
  2. Animals
  3. Animal welfare
  4. APEC countries
  5. data
  6. Developed countries
  7. Documentation
  8. Interventions
  9. Meta-analysis
  10. North America
  11. OECD countries
  12. peer-reviewed
  13. Pets and companion animals
  14. systematic reviews
  15. United States of America
  1. peer-reviewed