Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Modern American society recognizes the crucial role of data and information in evaluating and effectively addressing societal problems. Americans are bombarded with information on the economy, public health, social and psychological attitude trends, and other matters that are considered important. For example, no self-respecting politician would think of launching a political campaign or initiative without some sense of what the public might be worrying about. Addressing pet population issues should be no different. Data are needed in order to define the nature and scope of the dog and cat demographic challenge. Data can help people to understand the impact of “pet homelessness” on companion animals; to identify some of the characteristics of both successful and failed human-animal relationships; and to develop sound, effective, and long-lasting solutions that will strengthen humans’ relationships with companion animals and enhance companion animals’ welfare.

Given the need for reliable data, what is known now about trends concerning the companion animal population and the shelters that help address the “homelessness” problem?