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Large Dog Relinquishment to Two Municipal Facilities in New York City and Washington, D.C.: Identifying Targets for Intervention

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Shelter Research and Development, Community Outreach, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA®), 3201 SW Winding Way, Palm City, FL 34990, USA
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Shelter Research and Development, Community Outreach, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA®), 50 Stone Ridge Drive, Florence, MA 01062, USA
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Shelter Research and Development, Community Outreach, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA®), P.O. Box 408, Little Silver, NJ 07739, USA
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Shelter Research and Development, Community Outreach, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA®), P.O. Box 4323, Arlington, VA 22204, USA
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Shelter Research and Development, Community Outreach, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA®), P.O. Box 821075, Kenmore, WA 98028, USA
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Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA
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American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA®), 520 Eighth Avenue, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10018, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2014, 4(3), 409-433; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani4030409
Received: 18 April 2014 / Revised: 30 June 2014 / Accepted: 30 June 2014 / Published: 8 July 2014
While the overall trend in euthanasia has been decreasing nationally, large dogs are at a higher risk of euthanasia than other-sized dogs in most animal shelters in the United States. We hypothesized that one way to increase the lives saved with regard to large dogs in shelters is to keep them home in the first place when possible. Our research is the first to collect data in New York City and Washington, D.C., identifying the process leading to the owner relinquishment of large dogs. We found that targets for interventions to decrease large dog relinquishment are likely different in each community.
While the overall trend in euthanasia has been decreasing nationally, large dogs are at a higher risk of euthanasia than other sized dogs in most animal shelters in the United States. We hypothesized one way to increase the lives saved with respect to these large dogs is to keep them home when possible. In order to develop solutions to decrease relinquishment, a survey was developed to learn more about the reasons owners relinquish large dogs. The survey was administered to owners relinquishing their dogs at two large municipal facilities, one in New York City and one in Washington, D.C. There were 157 responses between the two facilities. We found both significant similarities and differences between respondents and their dogs from the two cities. We identified opportunities to potentially support future relinquishers and found that targets for interventions are likely different in each community. View Full-Text
Keywords: dog relinquishment; animal shelter; community interventions; safety net dog relinquishment; animal shelter; community interventions; safety net
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Weiss, E.; Slater, M.; Garrison, L.; Drain, N.; Dolan, E.; Scarlett, J.M.; Zawistowski, S.L. Large Dog Relinquishment to Two Municipal Facilities in New York City and Washington, D.C.: Identifying Targets for Intervention. Animals 2014, 4, 409-433.

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