Organization: University of Denver
Investigator(s): Sloane M. Hawes, Josephine Kerrigan, Tess Hupe and Kevin N. Morris
Grant Amount: n/a
Project Type: Basic Research
Project Status: Research Complete
This survey-based study aimed to better understand pet acquisition history, disposition toward future pet acquisition preferences and social influences in the city of Austin, Texas, with the ultimate purpose of developing policies and procedures that will increase rates of adoption. Although sample size was small (n=86), 81 (94%) respondents reported that they would consider obtaining their next pet from a shelter or rescue organization, whereas on the American Humane Association (2012) survey, only 56% of dog owners and 64% of cat owners said they would obtain their next pet from a shelter or rescue organization.
To expand the understanding of the attitudes informing pet acquisition preferences and the barriers to pet ownership in Austin, TX, specifically by developing and testing a survey instrument to assess sources of pet acquisition. By understanding more about pet acquisition history, pet preference, and social influences, this study can inform the strategies employed by shelters in the Austin area to increase rates of adoption.
A survey was developed and implemented utilizing a convenience sampling approach once a week for 2-3 hours in a variety of locations around the city that were expected to have a high volume of resident pedestrian traffic. This resulted in 86 participants from 35 (70%) of Travis County, TX zip codes ranging from 1 to 13 participants in each.
Demographics of Survey Participants:
Pet Acquisition History
Future Pet Acquisition
While this survey gathered preliminary data on past and future sources of pets, the size of the obtained sample limited analyses to descriptive statistics only. Findings revealed that pet ownership may be much more common in the city of Austin, relative to national data, with 83% currently owning a pet. Nearly 48% of these Austin-based participants acquired their pets through services besides animal shelters (10% from breeder, 8% found online, 14% from a family/friend, and 14% found as a stray). While this is lower than the percentage reported by the national surveys (AHA, 2012; APPA, 2016; AVMA; 2017), it still represents a substantial opportunity for animal shelters and rescue organizations to expand their market for adoption programs.