In the past few years, national concern has grown regarding the number of animals euthanized in shelters. Because of this interest, many communities -- including San Diego County -- are considering various actions to manage their dog and cat populations. Well-directed, enforceable proposals require a firm knowledge of the community and specifics of its population--both human and animal. Lack of such information, however, has been a stumbling block with many proposed solutions. Data, when available, is often incomplete and inconclusive.
Hastily enacted proposals, driven by emotions, can cause harm to the very animals they seek to protect.
Emotions flare over animal issues. Media sensationalize images of animals behind bars or dead from euthanasia to fan these emotional fires. Thoughtful topics regarding pet ownership rarely make the news.
The lack of reliable information stems mainly from many humane societies across the country not keeping detailed records. There are no central clearing houses for data collection. Numbers conflict even to the country's number of shelters, and what data there is regarding the number of animals being handled varies by several million.
In order to truly solve a problem, it must first be carefully defined. To solve an animal control problem, there must be adequate knowledge of what kind of animals are being discussed, where they are coming from and in what kind of numbers. Without this information no effective solution can be presented.
National Pet Alliance (NPA), a San Jose based, nonprofit organization was hired to conduct a comprehensive survey on the nature of pet ownership in San Diego County (SDC). Karen Johnson and Laura Lewellen recently completed a similar survey and analysis on pet ownership for Santa Clara County on behalf of NPA. This study was conducted to examine several important and diverse questions concerning animals in SDC, both owned and unowned.
The following report is based on a telephone survey of a cross-section of San Diego County. The independent firm, Nichols Research of Sunnyvale, CA conducted the phone survey. Johnson and Lewellen performed the statistical analysis. The methodology is given at the end of this report, along with a sample of the survey form and the results for each question.
This report was prepared by by Karen Johnson and Laura Lewellen for the National Pet Alliance
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