Objective—To examine changes between 1996 and 2004 in regard to numbers of animals handled, medical care provided, expenses, numbers of employees, and agency policies for animal care and control agencies in Ohio.
Sample Population—223 animal care and control agencies.
Procedures—A questionnaire was mailed to animal care and control agencies in Ohio to collect information for 2004; results were compared with published results of a similar survey.
Results—165 of the 223 (74%) agencies responded. Estimated total number of animals handled in 2004 was 315,519, which represented a decrease of 7% compared with 1996. However, although number of dogs taken in decreased 17%, number of cats taken in increased 20%. Between 1996 and 2004, the euthanasia rate decreased from 65.3% to 56.8%, and the adoption rate increased from 24.5% to 33.6%. Number of dogs euthanatized decreased 39%, but number of cats euthanatized increased 14%. The proportion of agencies with a spay-neuter policy increased from 56% to 71%, and the proportion that maintained an association with a veterinarian increased from 39% to 80%. For dogs handled by county dog warden agencies, the odds of euthanasia were higher if the agency did not have a spay-neuter policy (odds ratio, 1.36).
Conclusions—Results suggest that the status of dogs handled by animal care and control agencies in Ohio improved between 1996 and 2004, but that the status of cats deteriorated.
Objective—To characterize the process by which owners search for lost cats and identify factors associated with time to recovery.
Sample Population—Owners of 138 cats lost in Montgomery County, Ohio, between June 1 and September 30, 2005.
Procedures—A telephone survey was conducted.
Results—73 of the 138 (53%) cats were recovered; median time to recovery was 5 days (range, 0.5 to 81 days). Most cats (48 [66%]) that were recovered returned home on their own or were found in the neighborhood (5 [7%]); most other cats were recovered through posting of neighborhood signs (8 [11%]) or calling or visiting an animal agency (5 [7%]). The highest success rate for any of the search methods that were used was only 12% (posting neighborhood signs). Only 26 of the 138 (19%) cats had some type of identification at the time they were lost (ie, identification tag, rabies tag, or microchip). Owners allowed 82 (59%) cats to spend at least some time outdoors. The percentage of sexually intact cats recovered by their owners (4/16 [25%]) was significantly lower than the percentage of neutered cats recovered (69/122 [57%]).
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that the percentage of lost cats recovered by their owners is low, possibly in part because of the lack of use of traditional identification methods and the general acceptance that cats may roam. Veterinarians can help educate owners about the importance of identification and the need to keep cats indoors.
Objective—To characterize the process by which owners search for lost dogs and identify factors associated with time to recovery.
Sample Population—Owners of 187 dogs lost in Montgomery County, Ohio, between June 1 and September 30, 2005.
Procedures—A telephone survey was conducted.
Results—132 of the 187 (71%) dogs were recovered; median time to recovery was 2 days (range, 0.5 to 21 days). Dogs were recovered primarily through a call or visit to an animal agency (46 [34.8%]), a dog license tag (24 [18.2%]), and posting of neighborhood signs (20 [15.2%]). Eighty-nine (48%) dogs had some type of identification at the time they were lost (ie, identification tag, dog license tag, rabies tag, or microchip). Owners had a higher likelihood of recovery when they called an animal agency (hazard ratio, 2.1), visited an animal agency (1.8), and posted neighborhood signs. Dogs that were wearing a dog license tag also had a higher likelihood of recovery (hazard ratio, 1.6). Owners were less likely to recover their dogs if they believed their dogs were stolen (hazard ratio, 0.3).
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that various factors are associated with the likelihood that owners will recover a lost dog. Both animal agencies and veterinarians can play a role in educating dog owners on the importance of identification tags, licensing, and microchips and can help to emphasize the importance of having a search plan in case a dog is lost.
Objective—To characterize the process by which people who find lost pets search for the owners.
Sample Population—188 individuals who found a lost pet in Dayton, Ohio, between March 1 and June 30, 2006.
Procedures—Potential participants were identified as a result of contact with a local animal agency or placement of an advertisement in the local newspaper. A telephone survey was conducted to identify methods participants used to find the pets' owners.
Results—156 of 188 (83%) individuals completed the survey. Fifty-nine of the 156 (38%) pets were reunited with their owners; median time to reunification was 2 days (range, 0.5 to 45 days). Only 1 (3%) cat owner was found, compared with 58 (46%) dog owners. Pet owners were found as a result of information provided by an animal agency (25%), placement of a newspaper advertisement (24%), walking the neighborhood (19%), signs in the neighborhood (15%), information on a pet tag (10%), and other methods (7%). Most finders (87%) considered it extremely important to find the owner, yet only 13 (8%) initially surrendered the found pet to an animal agency. The primary reason people did not surrender found pets was fear of euthanasia (57%). Only 97 (62%) individuals were aware they could run a found-pet advertisement in the newspaper at no charge, and only 1 person who was unaware of the no-charge policy placed an advertisement.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Veterinarians and shelters can help educate people who find lost pets about methods to search for the pets' owners.