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Nearly Half of Young Adults Prefer to Buy Pet Rather Than Adopt

Posted: April 26, 2013, 1:35 p.m. EDT

A survey conducted by Best Friends Animal Society of Kanab, Utah, identified what the organization called a disconnect in how young Americans approach pet adoption.

The survey results, released April 24, found that 46 percent of people ages 18 to 34 were more likely to purchase a pet from a breeder or store rather than consider adoption. In addition, the same percentage believed that shelter animals were less desirable than those obtained from breeders.

"We were sad to learn that to some extent animals in shelters are stereotyped by young adults as damaged goods,” said Gregory Castle, the society’s CEO and co-founder. "The fact is that every day in this country perfectly wonderful family pets land in shelters through no fault of their own, all of whom need and deserve a home of their own.”

 Shelter dog
About 4 million homeless pets are killed each year in U.S. shelters.
Nearly 40 percent of the young adults surveyed thought homeless animals were not necessarily at risk and would remain in a shelter until adoption. About 4 million cats and dogs are euthanized each year in city shelters, Best Friends reported.

Out of the 1,000 adults of all ages surveyed by telephone in November 2012, 90 percent considered themselves pet lovers and 86 percent believed that showing affection to a pet was very important. When it came to an animal’s health, 66 percent believed in regular veterinary check-ups and 65 percent thought their pet should be spayed or neutered.

"The fact that people love pets, but one-third of those do not know the importance of vet checks and spaying/neutering indicates that we have more work to do in getting the word out there about the realities of adopting shelter pets,” Castle said.

Four out of five adults believed that all cats and dogs should be sterilized to reduce overpopulation, but only 33 percent were aware that spaying and neutering helps improve behavior and 28 percent knew the practice can improve pet health, Best Friends reported.

Best Friends is a no-kill organization that works with animal welfare groups nationwide.

"Our initiatives focus on animals that are at the highest risk of entering and dying in America’s shelter system,” Castle said. "Obviously, we are not there yet, but we’re making progress.”


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Nearly Half of Young Adults Prefer to Buy Pet Rather Than Adopt

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Reader Comments
Sadly the 18-37 age group doesn't have the means to provide for a pet. Our society also has created the mentality of immediate gratification. When I was this age I lived in rental apartments and worked all the time, so didn't have time for a dog. I did have a cat, but it was rescued. It's easy for young adults to go to a pet store and buy a pet on credit. Then when things change in their lives they simply dispose of...just like other material goods.
Anita, Cape Coral, FL
Posted: 5/1/2013 8:21:34 PM
I like the article. Unfortunately I think it is proof that a lot of money is wasted by organizations such as best friends, and the other large animal advocacy organizations. I think too frequently they "preach to the choir" rather than reaching out to those who are ignorant about the plight of millions of companion animals. I know each time Max A Pooch and I appear people are amazed to learn he came from an animal shelter. See a recent article about Max A Pooch LINK
keith, Deerfield, IL
Posted: 4/27/2013 6:52:47 AM
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