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Animals 2018, 8(2), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8020025

Online Relinquishments of Dogs and Cats in Australia

1
School of Animal & Veterinary Sciences and Animal Welfare Science Centre, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia
2
School of Mathematical Sciences, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 11 December 2017 / Revised: 2 February 2018 / Accepted: 5 February 2018 / Published: 7 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Sheltering)
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Simple Summary

The aim of this study was to analyze dog and cat advertisements on a popular online trading website in Australia in February 2016. A total of 2640 ads for dogs and 2093 ads for cats were classified as being relinquished on Gumtree. A total of 23% of dog ads and 62% of cat ads were for free animals. The median age was 1.42 years in dogs and 0.9 years in cats. Compared to the human population there were proportionately more ads in Queensland and fewer ads in Victoria. In comparison to pets from animal shelters advertised on PetRescue, there were more purebred dogs on Gumtree, although the common breeds were similar. Fifteen people who had relinquished a dog or cat on Gumtree were interviewed. They used Gumtree because they believed shelters were full, they wanted to see/interview the new owner, or because they originally got the animal on Gumtree and it works. These results shed light on a hitherto under-studied population of relinquished dogs and cats.

Abstract

While traditionally people relinquish their pets to an animal shelter or pound, the internet provides a newer method to re-home. We analyzed advertisements (ads) on the largest website in Australia for trading dogs and cats: Gumtree. Data was collected in 2016. Dogs were sampled on 7, 16 and 24 February 2016 and cats on 9, 19 and 26 February 2016, with 2640 ads for relinquished dogs, and 2093 ads for relinquished cats. It was estimated >31,000 puppies/dogs and >24,000 kittens/cats are relinquished on Gumtree per year. The median age of dogs was 1.42 and cats 0.9 years of age. There were 23% of dog ads and 62% of cat ads for free animals. Compared to the human population, there were proportionately more ads in Queensland and fewer ads in Victoria. A total of 15 people were surveyed who had relinquished a dog or cat using Gumtree. The dog owners used Gumtree for two reasons: because they believed the shelters were full (n = 4); and they wanted to see/interview the new owner (n = 2). For cat owners: they had originally got the cat on Gumtree (n = 2); they use Gumtree for other things, and it works (n = 2), and; they wanted to see/interview the new owner (n = 2). The data collected will be valuable for implementation of policy and interventions to protect the welfare of unwanted dogs and cats. View Full-Text
Keywords: relinquishment; dog; cat; online; Australia relinquishment; dog; cat; online; Australia
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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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Hazel, S.J.; Jenvey, C.J.; Tuke, J. Online Relinquishments of Dogs and Cats in Australia. Animals 2018, 8, 25.

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