Pet Adoption, Rescue or Shelters
This website shows the results of an online survey of 5,000 people who work with dogs. Respondents viewed photos of 100 dogs, and recorded what breed or breeds they thought the dog was. The dogs had been DNA-tested, and each had 25% of at least one breed in their genetic profile. Responses were counted as accurate if the survey participant identified any breed that was part of the dog's heritage, no matter how small the percentage. Respondents varied widely in their guesses, and accuracy was low for most dogs. Visitors to the website can view the photos, the top survey responses, and the actual DNA profile for each dog.
This PowerPoint presentation from The Shelter Pet Project illustrates the step-by-step process of analyzing the problem of pet overpopulation, setting a goal (more adoption from shelters instead of breeders), identifying a target audience, and determining the best way to reach them with the message. Research is applied at each step, and provides many valuable insights (such as differences between dog and cat guardians, regional differences, and the qualities potential adopters associate with shelter animals vs. animals from breeders), as well as guiding goals and strategies.
The authors of this study reviewed 22 cases of animal hoarding in Australia, looking at the demographics and living conditions of the household and animals, details of enforcement, and outcome for the animals and community. Types and numbers of animals hoarded varied widely, with some patterns related to the age and gender of the hoarder. In contrast to U.S. cases, animals were generally well-fed. However, large numbers of animals, especially cats, were euthanized as unadoptable due to "behavior problems." Most animals were acquired through uncontrolled breeding, with some variation by species. Unlike U.S. animal hoarders, Australian animal hoarders do not necessarily hoard objects, and are less likely to live alone. Initial complaints were often misdirected, and communication between enforcement agencies was poor. Recidivism was very high. Animal welfare agencies are already working on better rehabilitation to reduce euthanasia. The authors call for sterilization of animals returned to hoarders to reduce future hoarding, and interagency cooperation to best address the needs of both hoarders and animals.
This study presents a model that can be used by animal shelters to compare the effectiveness of various management strategies. The authors present the model along with a number of hypothetical adoption and fundraising scenarios including: 1) general strategies – altering adoptions fees and associated adoption numbers; creating a continued giving environment; promoting adoption events; and re-evaluating adoption criteria; and 2) specific strategies – altering adoption fees and total numbers of animals handled; analyzing low, fair, and high returns to additional promotion spending; and investigating zero-fee adoptions. The study found that increasing animal numbers without increasing adoption fees or donations caused costs to increase faster than total revenues. The model, the authors suggest, can assist shelter staff in improving their fiscal health as well as their ability to save lives.
This blog examines puppy mills in the U.S. It explains what they are, how they came to be, the number that are in operation, and how many dogs are impacted. The piece also outlines some of the many problems with these facilities and explains how the new Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act (PUPS Act) can address the so-called “Internet loophole” in puppy sales.
Effects of Preadoption Counseling on the Prevention of Separation Anxiety in Newly Adopted Shelter DogsSubmitted on Nov 18, 2013 (Original item from 2013) Companion Animals | General Animal Protection
Separation anxiety is a common behavior problem in dogs who have recently been adopted from a shelter and can in some cases lead to their return. This study tested the effectiveness of pre-adoption counseling in the education and prevention of separation anxiety problems with 133 new dog guardians (67 of which were used as a control group). The experimental group received five minutes of counseling on the prevention of separation anxiety. All participants completed a follow-up telephone survey on signs associated with separation anxiety and other related behaviors. The results showed no significant effect of this specific type of adoption counseling on the prevention of separation anxiety in newly adopted shelter dogs. Though the counseling proved useful in securing guardians' compliance with instructions, the authors note that separation anxiety is a complex behavior and may be difficult to alter using only basic, interventional information.
This study by Best Friends Animal Society explores awareness and attitudes in the U.S. about companion animal adoption and animals in shelters. Topics include benefits of living with a companion animal, the importance of veterinary care and grooming, benefits of adoption, beliefs about euthanasia, impressions of shelter animals and those from breeders, and perceived benefits of and support for spaying and neutering. Of note, almost half of young adults indicated they find shelter animals to be less desirable than those from breeders or pet stores.
This report details findings from a follow-up study commissioned by PetSmart Charities into public perceptions and actions related to companion animal adoption and spay/neuter in the U.S. The report details the level of public awareness and understanding of adoption and spay/neuter issues as well as the public’s motivations for, and barriers to, using adoption and spay/neuter services. The report presents findings from both a national and regional perspective and compares the results of this survey to that of the initial study. It also highlights differences based on the type of companion animal (cats versus dogs).
Evaluation of the Addition of In-cage Hiding Structures and Toys and Timing of Administration of Behavioral Assessments...Submitted on Oct 28, 2013 (Original item from 2013) Companion Animals | General Animal Protection
This study used behavioral and stress assessments with a treatment and control group to explore how long it takes cats to acclimatize to life in a municipal shelter and what role enrichments (a toy and a hiding box) play in easing the transition. No significant findings emerged about enrichment, though the study did show that newly relinquished cats need 3 days to achieve optimum behavioral scores and a decrease in their stress levels.
Using Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Measures for Assessing and Reducing the Stress of Dogs in Shelters: A ReviewSubmitted on Oct 24, 2013 (Original item from 2013) Companion Animals | General Animal Protection
Being admitted to an animal shelter is a stressful experience for dogs, with both behavioral and physiological outcomes. This article reviews research on the stress of shelter dogs as measured by activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. There is evidence that human interaction can have a beneficial effect on stress reduction, and the authors emphasize that reducing the stress of shelter dogs has implications for both their immediate welfare and also their long-term re-homing prospects and health.
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