More local support could turn tide in national fight against pet homelessness
TORONTO, Oct. 7, 2014 /CNW/ - Most (84 percent) Canadians would consider adopting a pet, but over half (59 percent) would also consider a non-adoption source, like a breeder, according to new research released today by PetSmart Charities of Canada. The nonprofit's first Shelter Pet Report also found that while 73 percent of people say that pet homelessness is at least somewhat important to them, an equal number of people admit they did nothing to help solve the issue in their communities.
"Canadians could end pet homelessness within a generation if they just took action today," said Julie White, senior director of programs, grants and field initiatives at PetSmart Charities of Canada. White said she is especially encouraged by recent increases in Canadians adopting and fixing their pets — trends she hopes motivate Canadians to lend greater support to their local shelters and rescue groups.
The PetSmart Charities of Canada 2014 Shelter Pet Report, a survey of more than 3,000 Canadians' views on pet adoption and spay/neuter, is the first study of its kind in Canada. While more than half of respondents said they adopted their pets, the study reveals that there is still work to be done to change how some people view pet adoption.
For example, 16 percent said they thought shelter pets adoption fees are too high. Another 16 percent of people said they just did not know much about adoption — with dog owners more likely to visit breeders than cat owners.
Other key findings include:
- Pet owners underestimate the problem. Most people (66 percent) underestimate the number of pets euthanized annually in Canada. Approximately 70,000 pets are euthanized every year because there are not enough homes. Dog owners are more likely than cat owners to underestimate the problem.
- Misperceptions about shelter pets still exist. The study found that the main barrier to adoption was that people wanted a purebred (23 percent). This suggests that people are unaware of breed-specific rescue groups or online resources for shelters that allow filtering by breed or type. In fact, one in four pets available at shelters and rescue groups is a purebred.
- Some pet owners recognize value in adopting. 18 percent of pet owners said adopting from a shelter appealed to them because they wanted a pet who was already vaccinated and fixed, saving them money and time. Another 13 percent said that adoption was much less expensive than purchasing a pet. But the largest motivator (45 percent) was knowing that by adopting, they were saving a pet's life.
- Spay/neuter rates are strong. 86 percent of pet owners said that their pet is fixed, although only 29 percent acquired a pet who was already spayed or neutered. That means a relatively high number of Canadians (57 percent) took the extra step to get their pet this critical surgery — and prevent unwanted litters from filling shelters. However, new pet owners' awareness of reduced cost spay/neuter clinics remains low at just 16 percent.
Be a Hero for Homeless Pets Today
We are a nation full of pet lovers, but we need some guidance on how to help solve the homeless pet problem. PetSmart Charities of Canada has launched an interactive quiz to test people's knowledge about pet overpopulation. "Which Hero for Homeless Pets Are You?" offers steps everyone can take right now to help save shelter pets in their communities.
The PetSmart Charities of Canada 2014 Shelter Pet Report is based on research conducted among more than 3,000 Canadians age 18 or older. A nationally representative sample of responses from people with and without pets was collected in February 2014 by Ipsos MarketQuest. The study has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.
Download the full study to learn more.
About PetSmart Charities® OF CANADA
PetSmart Charities of Canada is a nonprofit animal welfare organization that saves the lives of homeless pets. More than 14,000 dogs and cats find homes each year through our adoption program in all PetSmart® stores and our sponsored adoption events. A leading funder of animal welfare, PetSmart Charities of Canada has granted more than $5 million to help pets in need, with a focus on spay/neuter services that help communities solve pet overpopulation. PetSmart Charities of Canada is a registered charity, separate from PetSmart, Inc.
SOURCE: PetSmart Charities of Canada
For further information: Stephanie Kerr, PetSmart Charities of Canada, 289-313-6368, [email protected]