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Interaction and processes of animal relinquishment: a qualitative study

By Tamara Leigh Rice

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This thesis investigated the process of relinquishing a pet to the Department of Animal Control with the likely outcome of euthanasia for many of the animals left there by their owners. As euthanasia is no longer seen as an acceptable way to solve the pet over population problem those concerned about the welfare of animals have begun to create programs to prevent animals from meeting this dire outcome. While animal welfare agencies have worked to decrease the amount of animals available through intensive spay/neuter programs, this research considers the large population of dogs and cats who at one time had homes and are relinquished at our nation's shelters adding considerably to the pet overpopulation issue and further increasing the number of animals euthanized annually. People's perceptions of their pets leading up to, as well as at the time of relinquishment have shown patterns in the ways in which they make sense of the act of relinquishment. The results of the present study indicate that those people who relinquished their animals to the shelter and agreed to participate in the study had not created a role as the animal's caretaker. Creating the caretaker role and identity is suggested to have a positive influence in preventing an animal from being left at a shelter.


Katie Carroll

Date 2015
Pages 58
Publisher California State University San Marcos
Department Sociological Practice
Degree Master of Arts
Language English
University California State University San Marcos
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal control
  2. Animal housing
  3. Animal roles
  4. Animal shelters
  5. Animal welfare
  6. Cats
  7. Dogs
  8. Euthanasia
  9. Mammals
  10. overpopulation
  11. Pet ownership
  12. Pets and companion animals
  13. population control
  14. relinquishment
  15. Shelter pets