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Source of pet acquisition indicates likelihood of euthanasia of cats and dogs in an animal shelter

A. Montoya, J. S. Rand, R. M. Greer, C. Alberthsen, D. Vankan

Approximately 140,000 unwanted dogs and cats are culled in Australia every year. There is a lack of information linking sources of pet acquisition with subsequent euthanasia, which may inform evidence-based strategies to reduce euthanasia rates. This pilot study aimed to determine whether there was a higher risk of euthanasia related to the source of acquisition for pets given to an animal shelter.

Data for 5391 dogs and 5581 cats surrendered to one Queensland shelter between January 2006 and December 2009 were analysed. Of the 5391 dogs surrendered over the four-year period, 25 per cent were euthanased. Of the 5581 cats surrendered over the period 1968 (35 per cent) were euthanased

The main sources of acquisition for owner-surrendered dogs were ‘shelter’ and ‘pet shop’ and for owner-surrendered cats were ‘own litter’ and ‘shelter’. Euthanasia rates for different sources varied. For adult dogs, acquisition through newspaper advertisements was associated with the highest euthanasia rate. Adult cats obtained as gifts (from friend or family member) had the highest euthanasia rate. For junior cats, the overwhelming source was the …

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