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Emergency Animal Boarding: A Social Return on Investment

By G. C. Ma, J. Ravulo, U. McGeown

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Companion animals play a central role in many families and are especially valued by those who are socially isolated. Crisis situations such as acute hospitalizations, homelessness, and natural disasters can make it difficult to preserve the human-animal bond and can result in animals being surrendered or euthanized. Social support programs like the RSPCA NSW Emergency Boarding and Homelessness program support people experiencing crisis situations with emergency pet boarding, access to veterinary treatment and individualized case management. This study aimed to estimate the social return on investment (SROI) for this program using the standard SROI methodology. In-depth interviews were conducted with 13 program stakeholders and questionnaire responses were received from 29 program clients. Outcomes were quantified for four stakeholder groups: program clients, client's animals, RSPCA Inspectors, animal pounds, and shelters. Clients and their animals experienced the bulk of the benefit from the program, estimated to have a combined value of over AUD 5 million for the 2020-2021 financial year. The estimated social return on investment was AUD 8.21 for each AUD 1 invested. The study demonstrates that keeping people together with their companion animals or ensuring they are reunited as soon as possible can reduce stressors and improve outcomes for people and animals.

Publication Title Animals (Basel)
Volume 13
Issue 14
ISBN/ISSN 2076-2615 (Print)2076-2615
DOI 10.3390/ani13142264
Author Address Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals New South Wales, Yagoona, NSW 2199, Australia.Sydney School of Veterinary Science, The University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW 2006, Australia.Sydney School of Education and Social Work, The University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW 2006, Australia.
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal shelters
  2. Animal welfare
  3. Cats
  4. Companion
  5. Dogs
  6. Human-animal bond
  7. open access
  1. open access