[Embargoed until 12:00 a.m. ET Saturday, July 1, 2006, to coincide with publication in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.]
COLUMBUS , Ohio According to a new survey of animal shelters across Ohio, the outlook for sheltered dogs has improved considerably in the last decade. But conditions have deteriorated for cats.
Animal shelters reported that, since 1996, the number of dogs they received decreased by about 16 percent, while the number of cats taken in increased by nearly 20 percent. And while the number of dogs euthanized decreased by 39 percent, the number of cats that were put to sleep increased by nearly 14 percent.
"We saw a dramatic drop in the number of dogs euthanized, which we didn't expect to see," said Linda Lord, the study's lead author and a research fellow in veterinary preventive medicine at Ohio State University. "But the survey showed that we are losing ground with cats."
Lord and her colleagues collected data from 165 animal care and control agencies in Ohio in 2004. They compared the answers to those of a similar study of shelters that they did in 1996. The results of the latest survey are published in the July issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
It's likely that the general findings of this study apply to other states, Lord said.
"What's going on in Ohio is probably pretty reflective of many parts of the country," she said.
The researchers mailed the surveys to dog wardens in each of Ohio's 88 counties, and also to humane societies and municipal animal control agencies in the state. The researchers did not include breed-specific rescue groups in their study. The surveys included questions on vaccination, spaying and neutering practices, relationships with veterinary practices, euthanasia rates and the cost of running a facility.
The study revealed that since 1996: