Over 200,000 stray and surrendered dogs are admitted to shelters and municipal facilities in Australia each year, and approximately 20% are euthanized. Contemporary, comprehensive data on the characteristics and outcomes of dogs entering shelters are required to reduce shelter admissions and euthanasia. However, there are currently limited up-to-date data published on dog admission into shelters. A retrospective single cohort study was conducted to describe the characteristics and outcomes of the dog population entering Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Queensland (RSPCA-QLD) shelters in 2014 (n
= 11,967). The majority of dog admissions were strays from the public (24%) or from municipal councils (34%). Just over a quarter of admissions were puppies, 18% of adults (>6 months) were desexed, and the majority of admissions were crossbred dogs (92%). The majority of owner surrenders (86%) were due to human-related reasons. Most dogs were reclaimed (32%) or adopted (43%) and aggression was the most common reason for euthanasia of adult dogs (45%). Low-cost or free desexing and identification programs targeted to areas and breeds contributing to high intake, and increased support services for owners at risk of surrendering their dog, should be trialed to determine their cost effectiveness in reducing shelter admissions and euthanasia.
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