In the most recent issue of "Your Dog" published by the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, I read an article entitled,"Why pets end up in shelters". Although the information didn't surprise me, as I have volunteered at the San Diego Humane Society for several years, it did upset me.
Although many people may believe the top reason for pet relinquishment was the pet's bad behavior,or perhaps costly illness, they didn't even rank in the top 10. All the major reasons were people-specific and not related to the pet at all. They were:
1) Too many pets- 18%
2) Unwanted/incompatible -10%
3) Moving/Deployed- 10%
4) Stray/Found/Abandoned - 8%
5) Inability to care for - 8%
6) Financial/Home insurance policy restrictions - 6%
7) Euthanasia request - 5%
8) Unwanted litter /pregnant female - 4%
9) Allergic to animal -4%
10) Family health/death of owner -3%
Reading through this list it appears that in most cases the pet parents were ignorant in acquiring a pet in the first place; obviously without understanding the responsibilities involved in bringing a pet into their home.
If you are considering adding a pet to your family, PLEASE be sure you are fully cognoscente of what that means. A pet is a family member and should be with you for its entire life. Don't act on impulse ! This is a long term commitment and shouldn't be entered into without due diligence.