Dog relinquishment is a large component of shelter intake in the United States. Research has shown traits of the dog are associated with relinquishment as well as general characteristics of those relinquishing. Low income is often cited as a risk factor for relinquishment. The majority of people with lower incomes, however, do not relinquish. A group of people accessing a shelter in a low socioeconomic region of Los Angeles to relinquish their dogs was surveyed. This study examined risk factors for relinquishment, controlling for household income, compared to a group utilizing low cost spay/neuter services. A total of 76.9% of those relinquishing noted cost as a reason for relinquishment. Of participants in the relinquishment group, 80.7% reported not being aware of any services available to them. Most notable in the findings was that the odds of relinquishment were generally higher as the amount of perceived stress in the home in the past three months increased. The majority of people in both groups reported being emotionally attached to the dog. In this sample from a South Los Angeles community, the majority of reasons for relinquishment were likely solvable with assistance. These findings highlight an opportunity to assess community needs and provide community specific alternatives to relinquishment.
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