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Researchers to unleash shelter report

Article

Raleigh, N.C. - Researchers are working on a comprehensive study concerning shelter animals, collecting data from four U.S. regions to garner statistics on animal intakes and the people relinquishing them.

RALEIGH, N.C. — Researchers are working on a comprehensive study concerning shelter animals, collecting data from four U.S. regions to garner statistics on animal intakes and the people relinquishing them.

Coordinating the project is Diane Dunning, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, clinical associate professor and director of North Carolina State University's Animal Welfare, Ethics and Public Policy Program. Eighteen shelters in North Carolina, Tennessee, Colorado and New York are participating. The researchers have developed a specific reporting method for shelters in an effort to create an index linking relinquishments to U.S. Census Bureau data.

No research has ever gleaned statistics of this magnitude, Dunning says. Of the study's two data sets, one seeks to define the population using shelters by polling for age, economic level, homeowner status, gender, family size, race and ethnicity as well as education level and location. The second data set looks at a facility's total number of intakes, animal control, owners, transfers, relinquishments, adoptions, euthanasia numbers, losses and deaths for a final shelter count.

"We want to get a real read on what's happening in shelters and create talking points," Dunning says. "Our goal is to start a conversation on how huge of a problem this is in our country. The only way to do that is to index what really is going on in animal shelters in the United States."

The National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy is funding the 18-month project's initial phase.

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