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Animals 2015, 5(2), 426-441; doi:10.3390/ani5020364

Epidemiology of Dog and Cat Abandonment in Spain (2008–2013)

1
Chair Affinity Foundation Animals and Health, Department of Psychiatry and Forensic Medicine, School of Medicine, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Bellaterra, Barcelona, Spain
2
Queen Mother Hospital for Small Animals, The Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead, North Mymms, Hatfield, Herts AL9 7TA, UK
3
DEP Institute, C/Aragó 631-633, Local 1-2, 08026 Barcelona, Spain
4
IMIM (Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute), c/Doctor Aiguader 88, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Pauleen Bennett
Received: 24 April 2015 / Revised: 3 June 2015 / Accepted: 3 June 2015 / Published: 12 June 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management and Welfare of Shelter Animals)
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Simple Summary

In this paper we wanted to estimate the incidence of abandonment, as well as the general profile of dogs and cats entering animal shelters in our country. Also, we wanted to test the impact of identification on the recovery of dogs that had entered animal shelters. More than 100,000 dogs and more than 30,000 cats enter animal shelters annually in Spain. We observed a seasonal effect in the number of admissions in cats. A considerable percentage remained at the shelter or was euthanized. We found that identification of dogs with a microchip increased by 3-fold the likelihood of them being returned to the owner.

Abstract

Millions of pets are abandoned worldwide every year, which is an important animal welfare and financial problem. This paper was divided into three studies. Our first two studies were designed as a national survey of animal shelters to profile the population of stray dogs and cats, as well as to gather information on both relinquishment and adoption. The aim of our third study was to test the impact of identification on the recovery of dogs entering animal shelters. Studies one and two indicate that more than 100,000 dogs and more than 30,000 cats enter animal shelters annually in Spain. We observed a seasonal effect in the number of admissions in cats. Two-thirds of dogs and cats entering shelters were found as strays, while the rest were relinquished directly to the shelter. Most pets admitted to animal shelters were adult, non-purebred, and without a microchip, with the majority of dogs being medium sized. Adult dogs spent significantly more time in shelters than puppies. While most animals were either adopted or recovered by their owner, a considerable percentage remained at the shelter or was euthanized. The identification of dogs with a microchip increased by 3-fold the likelihood of them being returned to the owner. View Full-Text
Keywords: dogs; cats; abandonment; animal shelter; identification dogs; cats; abandonment; animal shelter; identification
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Fatjó, J.; Bowen, J.; García, E.; Calvo, P.; Rueda, S.; Amblás, S.; Lalanza, J.F. Epidemiology of Dog and Cat Abandonment in Spain (2008–2013). Animals 2015, 5, 426-441.

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