Office of Animal Welfare

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Top Ten Reasons for Cat/Dog Relinquishment

The Top Ten Reasons Given for Leaving Pets at Shelters in the United States


  1. Moving
  2. Landlord issues
  3. Cost of pet maintenance
  4. No time for pet
  5. Inadequate facilities
  6. Too many pets in home
  7. Pet illness (es)
  8. Personal problems
  9. Biting
  10. No homes for littermates


  1. Too many in house
  2. Allergies
  3. Moving
  4. Cost of pet maintenance
  5. Landlord issues
  6. No homes for littermates
  7. House soiling
  8. Personal problems
  9. Inadequate facilities
  10. Doesn't get along with other pets


Data collected and reprinted with permission by the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy. 10/8/04.

Remember, adding a companion animal to the household means making a lifelong commitment, so choose the pet that suits your lifestyle. Thinking before adopting will save the animal from being returned to the shelter. Educating yourself and your family about the pet before adopting will help to assure a long and satisfying life together.

Mutts, copyright 2004 Patrick McDonnell