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Animals 2019, 9(2), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9020050

Investigating the Impact of Indemnity Waivers on the Length of Stay of Cats at an Australian Shelter

1
Sydney School of Veterinary Science, The University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW 2006, Australia
2
RSPCA ACT, Weston, ACT 2611, Australia
3
Sydney School of Veterinary Science, The University of Sydney, Camden, NSW 2570, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 22 December 2018 / Revised: 18 January 2019 / Accepted: 3 February 2019 / Published: 7 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Welfare)
PDF [999 KB, uploaded 18 February 2019]

Simple Summary

The practice of adopting animals from shelters with ‘indemnity waivers’ is becoming increasingly common. Indemnity waivers serve to limit the ongoing responsibility of a shelter to an animal with a pre-existing condition likely to involve veterinary treatment in the future, thereby allowing shelters to adopt out animals that may have been previously considered unsuitable for adoption and instead euthanased. However, there has been concern from some sectors of the sheltering community that indemnity waivers can lead to animals staying in shelters longer than necessary because with a waiver they become less desirable to the public. This research sought to examine if there was a link between the presence of indemnity waivers and increased lengths of stay (LOS) of cats at an Australian animal shelter. It examined data for 249 cats adopted from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) Weston shelter located in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), Australia over a period of six months in 2017. The results demonstrated that cats adopted with indemnity waivers were found to have a longer LOS than those adopted without waivers, however no particular waiver type was found to be responsible for this effect. This finding should encourage shelters to use indemnity waivers judiciously due to the impact on LOS.

Abstract

Due to resource limitations, animal shelters in Australia historically have focused on rehoming animals considered ‘highly adoptable’. Increasingly, animal shelters in Australia are rehoming animals with pre-existing medical and/or behavioural issues. These animals are often rehomed with an ‘indemnity waiver’ to transfer the responsibility of ongoing financial costs associated with these conditions from the shelter to the new owner. However, it is unknown what effect these indemnity waivers have on the length of stay (LOS) of animals prior to adoption. The current study used data collected from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) Weston shelter located in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), Australia in 2017 to investigate the effect of indemnity waivers on the LOS of cats. A restricted maximum likelihood model (REML) was used to determine the effect of breed, age, coat colour, presence of a waiver, waiver type (categorised into seven groups) and waiver number (no waiver, single waiver or multiple waivers) on LOS. In the final multivariate model, age, breed and waiver number were found to influence LOS. Young cats, purebred cats and cats adopted without a waiver were adopted fastest. This study is the first to report the effect of indemnity waivers on the adoptability of cats from shelters.
Keywords: cat; shelter; RSPCA; length of stay; indemnity waivers cat; shelter; RSPCA; length of stay; indemnity waivers
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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MDPI and ACS Style

Pockett, J.; Orr, B.; Hall, E.; Chong, W.L.; Westman, M. Investigating the Impact of Indemnity Waivers on the Length of Stay of Cats at an Australian Shelter. Animals 2019, 9, 50.

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