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Evaluation of animal control measures on pet demographics in Santa Clara County, California, 1993–2006

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Author(s): Philip H. Kass | Karen L. Johnson | Hsin-Yi Weng

Journal: PeerJ
ISSN 2167-8359

Volume: 1;
Start page: e18;
Date: 2013;
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Keywords: Animal euthanasia | Epidemiology | Animal population groups | Population control | Population policy

ABSTRACT
The measurable benefits of animal control programs are unknown and the aim of this study was to determine the impact of these programs on pet population changes. A prospective cross-sectional study of 1000 households was implemented in 2005 to evaluate characteristics of the owned and unowned population of dogs and cats in Santa Clara County, California. The same population was previously studied 12 years earlier. During this time period, the county instituted in 1994 and then subsequently disestablished a municipal spay/neuter voucher program for cats. Dog intakes declined from 1992–2005, as they similarly did for an adjacent county (San Mateo). However, cat intakes declined significantly more in Santa Clara County than San Mateo, with an average annual decline of approximately 700 cats for the 12 year period. Time series analysis showed a greater than expected decline in the number of cats surrendered to shelters in Santa Clara County during the years the voucher program was in effect (1994–2005). The net savings to the county by reducing the number of cat shelter intakes was estimated at approximately $1.5 million. The measurable benefits of animal control programs are unknown and the aim of this study was to determine the impact of these programs on pet population changes.
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