National Council Research

OUR RESEARCH: The basis of the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy's unification in 1993 was to:
  • Gather and evaluate available national pet population data and relevant materials
  • Facilitate communications between organizations that share the National Council's mission
  • Provide expertise and resources for gathering and analyzing data pertinent to pet population
  • Establish strategies to reduce the number of homeless pets in the U.S.A.

A survey was conducted for four years to gather data regarding the numbers of animals entering and leaving animal shelters. The result of the Shelter Statistics Survey, 1994-97, is available below. The survey examined where the animals came from and where they went.

Two studies were identified and completed resulting in several publications in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science. One epidemiological study was the National Household Survey, to characterize the population of pet owners and the acquisition, ownership and disposal of pets. The second, known as the Regional Shelter Survey, was to characterize animals entering shelters, the population of people relinquishing animals, and the reasons for relinquishment.

The publications resulting from these two studies are:


CURRENT STUDIES: The NCPPSP has two research studies underway:

Population Dynamics of Free-Roaming Cats

This study is in the publication phase, and components of this study include:

  • A field-work assessment of free-roaming cats
  • A survey of community member attitudes
  • Citizen observation logs of free-roaming cats and their activities
  • Free-roaming cat genetics analysis

Shelter Population Index in Companion Animals: A Multi-Institutional Feasibility Study

This study was just initiated in 2006 and will:

  • Establish a valid and consistent estimate or index of shelter dog and cat populations
  • Provide an indicator of pet population trends similar to the Dow Jones Industrial Average
  • Create a tool that will be reflective of the community's health and well-being rather than an evaluative instrument for shelter analysis


It is our hope that our work will continue to:

  • Legitimize the field of pet population research

  • Encourage other scientists to address these issues in their work

Also see our Bibliography section of published articles from many sources.


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This journal publishes reports and articles on methods of experimentation, husbandry, and care that demonstrably enhance the welfare of nonhuman animals on farms, in laboratories, in wildlife/zoo settings, and as companions. JAAWS is a conjoint project of The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and Psychologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PSYETA).


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