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Why People Relinquish Pets

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Smiling dog

According to the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy, behavorial issues are not the main reason pet owners relinquish pets to an animal shelter. Following are the top ten reasons pet owners in the US relinquish cats  and dogs:


  1. Too many cats in house
  2. Allergies
  3. Moving
  4. Cost of pet maintenance
  5. Landlord issues
  6. No homes for littermates
  7. House soiling
  8. Personal problems
  9. Inadequate facilities
  10. Doesn’t get along with other pets


  1. Moving
  2. Landlord issues
  3. Cost of pet maintenance
  4. No time for pet
  5. Inadequate facilities
  6. Too many pets in home
  7. Pet  illness
  8. Personal problems
  9. Biting
  10. No home for littermates

Since landlord issues appear on both lists, be sure to check on any limits (size/weight of pets, type of pets, number of pets allowed) that might apply before adopting.  Most apartment complexes also have a deposit and additional monthly fee per pet.

Another item on both lists is cost of pet ownership.  Adopting a pet is a commitment of time and money.  The ASPCA estimates the first year costs of dog ownership range from $810 for a small dog to $1,580 for a large dog. First year costs for cat ownership average $715.

After the first year, dog ownership costs range from $420-$780 annually.  Cat ownership costs average $575 annually.

Pet ownership can be very rewarding, but having to relinquish that pet can traumatize both owner and pet.  Although circumstances may change after you adopt, doing your homework before adopting a pet can prevent problems down the road.

Information for this post from Pets Gone Green by Eve Adamson and Pets and the Planet by Carol Frischmann.


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