The National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy Regional Shelter Survey identified moving as the most often cited of 71 reasons for relinquishing dogs and the 3rd most common reason for relinquishing cats. Most relinquished companion animals were less than 3 years old and female. Dogs were most often intact, whereas cats were most often altered. Friends had given the majority of these companion animals to the relinquishers, who had obtained them at no cost. Most had lived with the relinquishers for less than 2 years. The majority of relinquishers were White and female, and had at least a high school education. Based on the U.S. population age distribution, young adults seem to be using shelters at a significantly higher rate than would be expected. These age groups are also more mobile, according to U.S. Census data. Therefore, educational efforts that target young, potentially mobile adults could decrease the number of animals relinquished.
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