Note to editors: Statistical breakdowns of four regional surveys that characterize pet owners who surrendered their animals to shelters in 1994 are available through Dr. M.D. Salman at Colorado State University. The four regional surveys were conducted in Colorado; Kentucky and Tennessee; New Jersey and New York; and California and explain the main reasons why pet owners relinquished their pets to shelters in those areas. Charts and tables of the national shelter statistics survey are available by calling (970) 491-6432.
FORT COLLINS-- America's mobile society is taking its toll on the nation's pets and often at the cost of the pets' lives, according to a pair of national studies coordinated by Colorado State University.
The two studies, conducted by Colorado State veterinary epidemiologist Dr. M.D. Salman and sponsored by the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy, reveal that moving and other lifestyle issues were the main reasons given by pet owners when surrendering their animals to shelters. But the majority of those pets--64 percent--are euthanized instead of adopted into new homes.
The studies also found that the majority of pet owners who surrender their animals to shelters are under 30 years of age and that more dogs are taken to shelters than cats and all other animals combined.
"Euthanasia of domestic pets in the United States is an epidemic," Salman said. "These studies give us the first glimpse of why so many pets are entering shelters and what happens once they are surrendered by their owners."
The council, a coalition of 11 non-profit and scientific organizations,
started in 1993 to coordinate three epidemiological studies to characterize the
problem of pet overpopulation. The first study, initiated by Colorado State in
1994, developed the most complete list to date of all animal shelters in the
United States, as well as the num
Contact: M.D. Salman
Colorado State University