ó After years of public awareness campaigns and
efforts to promote the adoption of cats and dogs from
shelters ó initiatives that seemed to be making great
strides ó a new study has delivered some troublesome
survey by Best Friends Animal Society (bestfriends.org),
the Utah sanctuary thatís one of the leaders in the
no-kill movement, has found that the
pro-shelter/pro-adoption message is being lost on young
participants between 18 and 34 were found to be more
likely to purchase a pet from a breeder or pet store
than to consider a shelter adoption (46 versus 31
percent total). The survey also uncovered misconceptions
among young adults, nearly 40 percent of whom donít
believe shelter animals are at risk, and 46 percent of
whom see shelter animals as less desirable than those
the last decade, animal rescue and animal rescue
organizations have become so prominent, people have been
bumping into them and (you) would have thought their
experience and their concept of the market would have
been different," says Francis Battista, vice
chairman at Best Friends. "I would have thought
this age bracket would have been pretty heavily exposed
to animals for adoption."
Campbell is the senior manager of knowledge and research
for PetSmart Charities (petsmartcharities.org), which
has been at the forefront in popularizing adoptions. Sheís
in that 18 to 34 demographic, and says itís
disheartening to see young people turning to breeders.
seen a number of my classmates who went to breeders to
purchase puppies," she says. "Iím
conflicted. These are people I care about, but they make
me wring my hands."
says younger people may not realize that just about any
breed is available through shelters or breed-specific
people also believe animals from breed rescues have the
same problems ó including behavior and health problems
ó that shelter animals are supposed to have. Battista
says Best Friends is fighting that "damaged
so far from the truth," he says. "Shelter pets
are basically unlucky pets whoíve ended up there
through no fault of their own. Ö It has nothing to do
with the quality of pets."
the worst bit of misinformation is that young people
tend to believe that animals are safe in shelters.
Nearly 40 percent of young people had that opinion in
the Best Friends survey versus 30 percent total. And in
the PetSmart survey of 2011, 88 percent of total
respondents underestimated the number of pets euthanized
annually in shelters in the U.S. (itís between 3
million and 4 million dogs and cats). The messages arenít
new. But how do they get conveyed to young adults?
says that perceptions need to change: The adoption
process isnít onerous; shelters are not depressing.
PetSmart has been correcting those misperceptions for a
decade with its in-store adoption program. It now has
more than 2,000 in-store adoption partners and last year
found new homes for more than 440,000 animals.
STORY CAN END HERE)
study conducted by Best Friends Animal Society, this one
in conjunction with the University of Pennsylvania
School of Veterinary Medicine, found that dogs from pet
stores (the large majority of which are the products of
puppy mills) are more likely to have behavioral problems
than dogs purchased from small breeders.
pet-shop dogs showed more aggressive behavior toward
other dogs, strangers and family members, as well as
greater fear of other dogs and behavior problems when
left unattended ó all reasons frequently cited by
people surrendering their pets to shelters.
study, which included more than 6,000 dogs, was
published in May in the Journal of the American
Veterinary Medical Association.