Determinants of Adoption and Euthanasia of Shelter Dogs Spayed or Neutered in the University of California Veterinary Student Surgery Program Compared to Other Shelter Dogs

Jaime Clevenger, Philip H Kass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Scopus citations

Abstract

Limited economic resources and pet overpopulation force animals shelters to consider euthanasia of adoptable animals every day. Veterinary medical schools can play a positive role in increasing pet adoption and combating overpopulation by providing free neutering for shelter animals. This retrospective cohort study illustrated that the cooperative efforts of a veterinary medicine surgical teaching program and local animal shelters decreases euthanasia of adoptable pets. At the University of California, Davis (UCD), shelter dogs are neutered by veterinary students and then returned to the shelter for adoption. The rates of adoption and euthanasia of the dogs neutered at UCD were contrasted with a comparison shelter group to determine the effect of pre-adoption neutering. The UCD-neutered dogs had a lower rate of euthanasia than the comparison shelter group at the shelters investigated. At Sacramento County Animal Care and Regulation, 73% of the UCD group but only 36% of the comparison group were adopted. At Yolo County Animal Services, 71% of the UCD group and 45% of the comparison group were adopted. The sex of an animal did not significantly affect the rate of euthanasia. Dogs that were predominantly pit bull, rottweiler, or chow chow breeds had higher rates of euthanasia than other breeds, independent of neuter status. Also, juveniles (less than one year old) had lower rates of euthanasia than adults, independent of neuter status. UCD adult dogs had lower rates of euthanasia than comparison adults. Post-surgical UCD dogs spent a longer average time in the shelter before adoption (15 days at Sacramento; 16 days at Yolo) than the comparison dogs (11 and 12 days, respectively). UCD dogs also spent a longer average time in the shelter before euthanasia (18 and 25 days, respectively) than the comparison dogs (13 days at both shelters). Lower probabilities of euthanasia for behavioral or medical reasons were found for UCD dogs than for the comparison dogs. The probability of euthanasia for reasons of space limitations increased with time in shelter for both groups. In this study, pre-adoption neutering increased adoptions without increasing the probability of medical or behavioral euthanasia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)372-378
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Veterinary Medical Education
Volume30
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2003

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)

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