Factors Associated with High Live Release for Dogs at a Large, Open-Admission, Municipal Shelter
Center for Animals and Public Policy, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, North Grafton, MA 01536, USA
Best Friends Animal Society, Kanab, UT 84741, USA
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Received: 5 December 2017 / Revised: 15 March 2018 / Accepted: 26 March 2018 / Published: 28 March 2018
Better understanding of factors contributing to live release (rehoming) may help shelters improve outcomes. In this study, data were analyzed for all dogs (n = 21,409) admitted over a two-year period for the primary purpose of rehoming at a high-volume, open-intake municipal shelter performing animal control (the Pima Animal Care Center in Tucson, Arizona). Results show that >88% of eligible dogs were rehomed through adoption to the public or transfer to a rescue group. Temporary placement into interim foster homes of dogs who were either not immediately eligible or not strong candidates for adoption due to reasons such as age or health, increased the odds of live release after subsequent return to the shelter, especially for adult dogs. Dogs returned to the shelter after unsuccessful adoption had a live-release advantage as well, which suggested that the temporary experience in a home was not detrimental and may have facilitated the likelihood of live release after return, akin to a foster situation. Over a fifth (21.1%) of dogs originally brought to the shelter for owner-requested euthanasia were determined to be potentially savable and ultimately rehomed. It remains to be determined whether other large, open intake shelters performing animal control can replicate these results.