Ask Dr. Dolamore: Why do pets end up in shelters? |

Ask Dr. Dolamore: Why do pets end up in shelters?

Karen-Jo Dolamore
special to the daily

Millions of pets are surrendered to shelters each year. And little has been known about the reasons why until now. The following is from the American Animal Hospital Association: In a study conducted by the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy and published in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, researchers went into 12 selected animal shelters in the United States for one year to find out why.

The top seven reasons for relinquishment for both dogs and cats are the same.

– Moving

– Landlord not allowing pet

– Too many animals in household

– Cost of pet maintenance

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– Owner having personal problems

– Inadequate facilities

– No homes available for litter mates

Lets examine the top two reasons and what we can do to help:

Moving – We all know in Summit County we have a transient population of workers with pets. When they leave at the end of the season, many animals are actually abandoned or let loose. Shelters are there to help animals, and offer a second chance. The Summit County Animal Shelter offers these unwanted pets that chance. So, please bring them to the shelter and give them a chance to find a new home. Yes there is a $50 relinquishment fee, but the shelter will work with you if you cant afford it.

But don’t get a pet unless you plan on keeping it for 15 years or so. Think of how old you are now, add on 15 years, and that’s the reality of the commitment you are making. And if you are thinking of getting a new pet, come to the shelter first. Everyone deserves another chance.

Landlord not allowing pets – In this soft real estate market there may be flexibility on this issue. Speak to the landlord and ask if an exception can be made. If the answer is yes, be a responsible pet owner and take care of your pet. Don’t let it ruin the property, or annoy neighbors. If it’s a dog, pick up after it and be sure its well behaved.

Also, the Summit County Animal Shelter has a Pet Friendly Rental Property list.

Landlords should call and put their name on the list, and people looking for such a list can call for help finding such properties.

The take home message here is remember that it’s harder to find a place to live that allows a pet and it’s likely to be more expensive. Plan for it and remember, pets are family and need to be taken into consideration when moving to a new apartment or moving to a new area.

Dr. Karen-Jo Dolamore lives in Summit County with her husband, two boys and three rescued dogs. She works at Buffalo Mountain Animal Hospital part-time. Send questions to

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