In personal interviews, people surrendering their dogs and cats to 12 animal shelters in 4 regions of the country discussed their reasons for relinquishing their companion animals and answered questions about their own characteristics and those of their pet. The interviews identified 71 reasons for relinquishment. Personal issues lead the class of reasons for relinquishment of cats and ranked 3rd among those given for relinquishment of dogs. The top 3 health and personal issues cited for giving up cats were allergies of a family member to cats, owner's personal problems, and anew baby. For dogs, the top 3 reasons cited were lack of time for the dog, owner's personal problems, and allergies. Analysis of these health and personal issues suggests that education and counseling before and after acquisition of a pet, as well as the availability of temporary accommodations for pets during times of personal crisis, may reduce relinquishments.
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