More than 1 Million Pets Get “Re-Housed” Each Year

In a sad commentary on life in America, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals reports that 6.12 million households are re-homing, or surrendering, their pets every five years.

This equates to more than 1 million per year.

In an effort to study this behavior, the ASPCA surveyed Americans, and discovered the following trends:

  • Re-homed pets were most often given to a friend or family member (37%), closely followed by being taken to a shelter (36%). Other re-homing options included being taken to a veterinarian (14%), being given to someone not previously known (11%) and being set free (1%).
  • The most common primary reasons for re-homing a pet were related to the pets themselves (46%), followed by family situations (27%) and housing issues (18%).
  • Among the 46% who responded that they gave up a pet due to a pet-related issue, 26% said they could not afford medical care for their pets’ health problems.
  • When pet owners with incomes lower than $50,000 were asked which service might have helped them the most, the majority indicated free or low cost veterinary care (40%).
  • Other resources indicated were free or low-cost training or behavior help (34%), access to pet-friendly housing (33%), free or low-cost spay/neuter services (30%), free or low cost pet food (30%), free or low cost temporary pet care or boarding (30%) and assistance in paying pet deposits for housing (17%).
  • Of those who reported housing-related issues as their main reason for re-homing pets, 43% cited issues with their landlord, while 39% said that they did not have enough space. For respondents who rent instead of own, housing-related issues were the number one reason for re-homing.

While pet owners may have good reasons for abandoning or re-housing their pets, the net result is that many end up in shelters. And most of those shelters are under-resourced.

ASPCA is doing its part to keep pets out of shelters, and there’s plenty that you can do, too. If gaining a furry new family member is part of your holiday plan, consider adopting your pet from a local shelter.

If you are a sympathetic animal lover, you should also consider helping your local shelter with a donation.

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