Pet Adoption, Rescue or Shelters
This report summarizes results from Year 7 of the Animal Tracker, an annual survey of U.S. adults regarding their attitudes and behavior toward animals. In summary, the most recent survey continues to show strong support for humane education and many other animal advocacy tactics. However, there appears to be a slight erosion in this support compared with survey results from 2011 and 2008 and fewer people are engaging in animal-friendly behavior compared with previous years.
This study surveyed factors in a potential guardian's adoption decision after interacting with a dog in a visitor space at an animal shelter. Having the intention to adopt was the best predictor of adoption - however, 41% of respondents with that intention did not adopt. Lack of interaction by the dog, either by disinterest in play, or not lying down close to the visitor, was the best predictor of non-adoption. The visiting location also seemed to have an influence on the adoption decision. Training dogs in desired behaviors may improve adoption rates, but more research is needed to confirm and refine the results.
Guest blogger Ivy Collier introduces us to the growing network of companion animal rescue transport. The mission of these groups is to move animals from saturated, high-euthanasia localities to other areas where the odds for adoption may seem to be more promising. But documentation of impacts on either end is scanty. Many questions are raised, and in the absence of research on the effectiveness of these efforts, most remain unanswered.
Prevalence of Upper Respiratory Pathogens in Four Management Models for Unowned Cats in the Southeast United StatesSubmitted on Jun 18, 2014 (Original item from 2014) Companion Animals | General Animal Protection
This experiment tested cats for respiratory infections to study the impact of living environments. Shelter cats, cats living in groups in rescues, cats being fostered, and community cats were tested. Certain pathogens were more common in certain environments. Symptoms were not a reliable indicator of whether a cat was infected, most cats carried at least one infection, and many cats were infected with more than one pathogen. The authors suggest a multi-pronged approach, including isolation of infected cats, vaccination, appropriately targeted antibiotics, stress reduction, and hygiene practices, for treatment and prevention.
This online survey of veterinary clinics in 4 southeastern U.S. states determined that most veterinarians offer micro-chipping and/or collars, but usage is low, particularly in cats. Veterinarians could more effectively promote and support identification options by utilizing scanners that can detect all types of microchips, scanning all new clients and during routine exams, registering contact information for guardians at the time of microchip implantation, and having appropriate collars and tags available for sale at their offices. The authors also call for standardization of microchips used in the U.S.
This 2003 case study interviewed shelter staff and guardians who surrendered animals at a U.S. animal shelter. The author argues that standardization of reasons for surrender, and even the term "surrender" itself, reframes the act of abandoning an animal in a way that may perpetuate the problem. She suggests that most animals are surrendered because the adopter had limited knowledge, unrealistic expectations, and low commitment to working through problems. Therefore, resources to help people keep animals, which are rarely accessed before surrender, may be a case of misdirected institutions solving the wrong problem.
This policy paper presents recommendations for shelter managers, advocates, and legislators to reduce shelter intake, adjust practices to improve welfare and increase adoption rates, stabilize shelter budgets, and reduce euthanasia of cats and dogs. Outcomes for cats have not improved as strongly as for dogs, so it suggests that funds be directed towards non-lethal reduction of outdoor cat populations rather than to housing or euthanizing healthy feral cats. Funding shelters on the basis of positive outcomes for the animals rather than on number of animals handled is also advised.
United Kingdom veterinary charity, the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA), surveyed companion animal guardians, children, and veterinary staff to measure the well-being of cats, dogs, and rabbits according to 5 legislated "Duty of Care" criteria: environment, diet, behavior, companionship and health. Special sections highlighting companion animal obesity, behavior training, and the decision-making process leading up to guardianship comprise the bulk of the magazine-style 2012 report. Veterinarian and guardian answers to survey questions on care practices and public policy issues are contrasted.
What prompted this son of wealth, with little history of persistent effort or particular accomplishments, to suddenly become a hands-on, full-time animal advocate when he was well into his 50s? A lot of people have wondered, including those who knew him at the time. The mystery is intensified when we read that the founder of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals didn’t actually like animals!
Trends in Intake and Outcome Data for Animal Shelters in a Large U.S. Metropolitan Area, 1989 to 2010Submitted on Mar 26, 2014 (Original item from 2014) Companion Animals | General Animal Protection
The authors of this article compiled statistics from 4 large animal shelters in the greater Denver, CO metropolitan area over a 22 year period (1989-2010). Overall, intake and euthanasia of dogs and cats dropped substantially over the study period. However, intake and euthanasia of cats increased slightly over the past decade, for reasons that are unclear. More detailed record-keeping, particularly for cats, could help identify additional interventions to increase adoptions and continue to reduce overpopulation and euthanasia.
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