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Risk factors for dog relinquishment to a Los Angeles municipal animal shelter

By E. D. Dolan, J. Scotto, M. Slater, E. Weiss

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Dog relinquishment is a large component of shelter intake in the United States. Research has shown traits of the dog are associated with relinquishment as well as general characteristics of those relinquishing. Low income is often cited as a risk factor for relinquishment. The majority of people with lower incomes, however, do not relinquish. A group of people accessing a shelter in a low socioeconomic region of Los Angeles to relinquish their dogs was surveyed. This study examined risk factors for relinquishment, controlling for household income, compared to a group utilizing low cost spay/neuter services. A total of 76.9% of those relinquishing noted cost as a reason for relinquishment. Of participants in the relinquishment group, 80.7% reported not being aware of any services available to them. Most notable in the findings was that the odds of relinquishment were generally higher as the amount of perceived stress in the home in the past three months increased. The majority of people in both groups reported being emotionally attached to the dog. In this sample from a South Los Angeles community, the majority of reasons for relinquishment were likely solvable with assistance. These findings highlight an opportunity to assess community needs and provide community specific alternatives to relinquishment.

Publication Title Animals
Volume 5
Issue 4
Pages 1311-1328
ISBN/ISSN 2076-2615
DOI 10.3390/ani5040413
Language English
Author Address Shelter Research and Development, Community Outreach, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), 307 NE Thornton Place #510, Seattle, WA 98125,
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animals
  2. Animal welfare
  3. APEC countries
  4. Attitudes
  5. California
  6. Canidae
  7. Canine
  8. Carnivores
  9. Costs
  10. Developed countries
  11. Dogs
  12. Emotions
  13. Mammals
  14. North America
  15. OECD countries
  16. peer-reviewed
  17. risk factors
  18. shelters
  19. socioeconomics
  20. United States of America
  21. vertebrates
  1. peer-reviewed