A survey of attitudes toward responsible pet ownership

L A Selby, J D Rhoades, J E Hewett, J A Irvin
Public Health Reports 1979, 94 (4): 380-6
The concerns of medical and community officials about responsible pet ownership have increased. Before a practical solution can be found for irresponsible ownership and community health problems associated with pet populations, the public's attitudes on issues related to responsible pet ownership must be determined. Such issues include attitudes on dog and cat overpopulation, potential public health problems associated with pet populations, and methods of controlling pet populations and stray animals. Responses to a questionnaire were used to evaluate the attitudes of 910 pet owners and nonowners toward factors comprising responsible pet ownership. The median age of the respondents was 33 years; 414 (45 percent) were men, and 496 (55 percent) were women. At the time of the study, 18 percent owned a cat and a dog, 35 percent owned only a dog, 11 percent showed only a cat, and 36 percent were nonowners. Not only the sex of the respondent but also the category of pet ownership affected opinions on overpopulation of dogs and cats, nuisance and pollution problems associated with these animals, and methods of controlling pet populations in the community. For example, owners agreed strongly on family planning for pets, but a majority of male owners stated that they would not have their dogs neutered.

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