Monday, December 14, 2015

More than 1 Million households forced to give up their beloved pet each year, ASPCA research reveals

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recently released results of a published research study addressing the re-homing of cats and dogs in the United States, as well as the reasons behind why many pet owners feel they have no other choice but to re-home their pets.

The study, published in the peer-reviewed Open Journal of Animal Sciences,” reveals that an estimated 6.12 million households are re-homing, or surrendering, their pets every five years – meaning that more than 1 million households are re-homing their pets each year. The study aimed to uncover how and why these pet owners are re-homing their pets.

Of pet owners surveyed who reported having given up a pet within the last five years, the following trends were uncovered: 

--Re-homed pets were most often given to a friend or family member (37%), closely followed by being taken to a shelter (36%). Other re-homing options included being taken to a veterinarian (14%), being given to someone not previously known (11%) and being set free (1%).  

--The most common primary reasons for re-homing a pet were related to the pets themselves (46%), followed by family situations (27%) and housing issues (18%). 

--Among the 46% who responded that they gave up a pet due to a pet-related issue, 26% said they could not afford medical care for their pets’ health problems.

--When pet owners with incomes lower than $50,000 were asked which service might have helped them the most, the majority indicated free or low cost veterinary care (40%). Other resources indicated were free or low-cost training or behavior help (34%)), access to pet-friendly housing (33%), free or low-cost spay/neuter services (30%), free or low cost pet food (30%), free or low cost temporary pet care or boarding (30%) and assistance in paying pet deposits for housing (17%).

--Of those who reported housing-related issues as their main reason for re-homing pets, 43% cited issues with their landlord, while 39% said that they did not have enough space. For respondents who rent instead of own, housing-related issues were the number one reason for re-homing.

One of the most powerful findings in the study was the stark difference in responses between those with a household income below $50,000 and those with a household income above $50,000. Those with income below $50,000 were significantly more likely to re-home due to cost and housing issues as opposed to pet-related issues. They were also more likely to re-home all pets in the household at once.

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