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Pets in the city: Managing surplus dogs in Syracuse, New York

By Kristin Cutler

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This thesis contributes to the growing interest in animals in geography. Specifically, it situates pets within the geographic literature and addresses the causes and consequences of pet love in the United States. Using Syracuse, New York as a case study, this thesis illuminates the critical yet understudied existence of pets in the city, paying particular attention to the historical and contemporary foundations, management, and geographies of surplus dogs. Further, it explores major shifts in Americans' attitudes toward pets over the last two centuries, details the necessity for and establishment of animal management in the city, and explains the consequences (namely, euthanasia) of the flawed animal management system in Syracuse. While animal control and welfare have improved since the nineteenth century, Syracuse has not resolved its issues facing animal management for two reasons. First, modern animal control and welfare are rooted in historical practices. Although Americans' attitudes toward animals have changed drastically since the nineteenth century, the way humans manage animals today is much the same as in the past, pointing to larger structural and systemic intractabilities. Second, many organizations are involved in animal management in Syracuse. Tensions among these organizations make for unproductive working conditions and limit the possibility of change.

Date 2014
Pages 97
ISBN/ISSN 9781321468229
Publisher Syracuse University
Department Geography
Degree M.A.
University Syracuse University
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal control
  2. Animals in culture
  3. Animal welfare
  4. Dogs
  5. Geography
  6. New York
  7. Pets and companion animals
  8. Physical environment
  9. Policy and Planning
  10. Public administration
  11. Veterinary services