Companion animal adoption and relinquishment during the COVID-19 pandemic: the experiences of animal rescue staff and volunteers

Grace A Carroll*, Catherine Reeve, Alice Torjussen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

There has been a paucity of research into the experiences of animal rescue staff and volunteers during COVID-19. The aim of this qualitative research was to explore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on companion animal rescue organisations and their staff and volunteers, and to develop a set of recommendations on how to reduce the risk to companion animal welfare during a crisis. Descriptive thematic analysis was used to explore the experiences of staff and volunteers from 28 animal rescue organisations, most of which were based in the UK. Other surveyed countries included Germany, the Republic of Ireland, France, Spain, the USA and Australia. We identify three key themes that reflect the challenges faced by pet rescue organisations during the pandemic: (1) impact on animals; (2) impact on identity; and (3) impact on organisational processes. Key recommendations include the promotion of co-operation and modifications within the sector, the need to understand, and change, detrimental pet-owner behaviours, and the need to clarify the identity of animal rescue organisations within the Government. Both positive and negative outcomes were experienced by animal rescue organisations during the COVID-19 pandemic. These findings should be considered for future crises and indeed the everyday operating procedures of companion animal rescue organisations.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12
Number of pages11
JournalAnimal Welfare
Volume33
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 04 Mar 2024

Keywords

  • adoption
  • animal shelter
  • animal welfare
  • COVID-19
  • qualitative
  • relinquishment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Veterinary

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