Almost half of all pets entering an animal shelter each year are actually owner-surrenders. It can be difficult for many pet parents to understand how anyone could relinquish their best friend. However, understanding the most common reasons for pet surrenders may help reduce the number of pets surrendered in the future.
According to a National Council on Pet Population Study & Policy (NCPPSP) study, the reasons dogs and cats are relinquished have many commonalities, such as: pet owner moving, landlord issues, too many pets in the household, pet owner having personal problems, and the cost of pet maintenance.
The majority of surrendered pets were young, between 5 months and 3 years, and most of them had been in the home for less than a year. About one half of the surrendered pets had not been spayed or neutered, and many of the surrendered pets had not been seen by a veterinarian at all. Most of the dogs surrendered to a shelter had never received any type of obedience training.
Both cats and dogs were less likely to be surrendered if the pet had received regular veterinary care. Other factors that made it less likely for a pet to be surrendered were obedience training for dogs, or for cats, the pet parent having read educational material about cat behavior.
This suggests that if potential pet owners are educated about pet ownership before bringing a new pet into the home, perhaps the number of subsequent owner-surrenders can be reduced.