Educating the Younger Generations
A recent survey, conducted by Best Friends Animal Society, the Utah sanctuary that's one of the leaders in the no-kill movement shed an important and fascinating light on pet owner attitudes toward sources of pets. The study focused on people 18 to 34 years of age and although details of the size and scope of the study are not available, the results are that nearly half—46 percent—of these young people found shelter animals less desirable than animals purchased from breeders or pet stores. This misconception needs to be addressed now.
The results communicate that the pro-shelter/pro-adoption message is being lost on young people. The survey also uncovered a misconception among young adults, nearly 40 percent of whom don't believe shelter animals are at risk. This report comes as a surprise to many in the industry and hopefully further studies will be conducted to validate these results.
As Francis Battista, vice chairman at Best Friends states, "In the last decade, animal rescue and animal rescue organizations have become so prominent, people have been bumping into them and (you) would have thought their experience and their concept of the market would have been different. I would have thought this age bracket would have been pretty heavily exposed to animals for adoption."
Although more than half of those surveyed did recognize that animals from breed rescues have the same problems, including behavior and health problems, that shelter animals are supposed to have it is clear that the animal welfare industry must continue fighting that "damaged goods" canard. Another issue is that younger people may not realize that just about any breed is available through shelters or breed-specific rescues.
When potential pet owners, young or old, understand that it’s easy to find terrific companion animals in shelters, then these survey results will change. The Best Friends study is certainly an impetus to continue with marketing such as The Shelter Pet Project. This is a collaborative effort between two leading animal welfare groups, The Humane Society of the United States and Maddies’s Fund, and the leading producer of public service advertising (PSA) campaigns, The Ad Council. The Project promotes that pets in shelters are wonderful and loveable and should be the first place to look when acquiring a new best friend. And not out of guilt, but in the hope that they will find great pets who deserve great homes.
My name is Digger. I am homeless not because I am a bad cat or a problem cat – but because my family was allergic to me and my friend L’il Bit. I am long, lean and large but have the calmest of personalities and make an excellent family pet. I am only 4 years young and am a very thoughtful cat. A person is the best thing to happen to a shelter pet. Be that person. Adopt.
Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shop are both located in Ridgway but service San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, Feral Cat, or other Programs. View our shelter pets and services online: www.adoptmountainpets.org.