Common Misconceptions about Shelter Pets are a Barrier to Adoption

Despite the fact that they can make such amazing companions, some people are still hesitant to adopt shelter pets. The Oklahoma City Animal Shelter had a lower intake number than ever in 2012 and the Central Oklahoma Humane Society is saving more and more animals through adoption, spay/neuter, and transport initiatives but it is still important for people to take in homeless animals. Why is it that some individuals are hesitant to adopt an animal that has been in a shelter? Could it be that they simply possess no desire to help a dog or cat in need? It would be easy to label those who fail to provide a home for shelter pets as uncaring but this is simply not the case. A study carried out by market research company Ipsos Research found that the main reason that people avoid adopting a shelter pet is that they believe one of several common misconception about these animals.

Ipsos Research highlighted the fact that many people think that suitable pets cannot be found in shelters. A significant proportion of the population wrongly presumes that the majority of pets that are relinquished by their owners are given up on account of behavioral problems. However this is not the case. A study conducted by the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy concluded that the top five reasons for dog relinquishment in the United States are moving house, landlord issues, cost of pet maintenance, lack of time in which to look after a pet and inadequate facilities. The top five reasons for cat relinquishment are too many cats in the house, allergies, moving house and cost of pet maintenance. Behavioral problems doesn’t feature in the top ten for either animal.

Shelter Pets are Healthier

Another common misconception is that shelter pets are substantially more likely to suffer from health problems than those that are bought from pet shops. However in order to mark Adopt a Homeless Pet Month earlier this year, a company that provides insurance for pets mined claims data for nearly one hundred thousand insured dogs and cats and found that animals adopted from rescue organizations or shelters were actually five percent less likely to suffer from unexpected trips to the vet compared with animals purchased from pet stores. An article about pet adoption published by Women’s Health magazine suggests that this might be because pet shop owners rarely run the tests that shelters use to check for disease.

Mystery Dogs

Many people also believe that they could never be sure what they were getting if they adopted a shelter pet. This couldn’t be further from the truth, as the majority of animals that arrive in shelters have been dropped off by their former owners and are not strays with an unknown history. Even the pets that were strays at one point are not particularly mysterious, as the staff have got to know their personalities and are able to give accurate descriptions of their characters.

Negative Image on TV

Ipsos Research concluded that one of the reasons that some people have such a negative view of shelter pets is that they believe the image of them that is portrayed on television. Animals in shelters are often depicted as being forlorn and depressed, which simply isn’t the case. Every pet has a different personality; some are happy and outgoing and others are quieter and more reserved. The results of the study highlight the need for shelter animals to be shown as they really are as opposed to being stereotyped. The pets that appear on TV should be the same pets that are in the shelters, not creatures that are permanently sad.

The Benefits of Shelter Pets

It appears that misinformation can sometimes prevent loving pets from finding homes. This is a shame, as shelter animals possess a multitude of advantages over those that are bought from pet shops. If you adopt a fully-grown dog or cat, you will have missed out on the period of its life in which it chewed everything in sight. Your pet is also likely to have already been trained. The most important benefit of all is that you will be providing a pet with a loving owner though. There is no greater gift that you could give. Your animal will love you all the more for it and you will eventually develop an unbreakable bond with it. Do something amazing today and give an animal a home. By doing this you will be leading by example and helping to dispel the myths that are preventing some shelter pets from being adopted. The Central Oklahoma Humane Society has already found homes for over ten thousand dogs and cats, proving that a lot of people in Oklahoma are still benefiting from adopting shelter pets. Why not join their ranks today? www.okhumane.org/volunteer