New poll queries pet owners about information sources, medical concerns

Feb 01, 2012
By staff

NATIONAL REPORT — While pet owners believe that adopting pets from a shelter is morally responsible, most are still getting pets as gifts or by taking in strays, according to a new poll by, available at

The poll asked 1,118 consumers where they obtained their pets. About 44 percent of the respondents say they purchased at least one of their animals from a pet store or breeder, and 43 percent of the respondents say at least one of their pets was given to them by friends and family. About 30 percent of the respondents say that at least one of their pets was adopted from an animal shelter.

For those pet owners who did adopt from a shelter, about 36 percent said they believed shelter animals were more likely to have received veterinary care than those purchased from pet stores or breeders, the survey reports.

Another 36 percent of pet owners say they are extremely concerned or very concerned about their pets' unknown medical problems. About 33 percent of the respondents said they were not too concerned or not concerned at all about unknown medical problems. In terms of behavior-related problems, about one third of pet-owner respondents say they are extremely or very concerned about unknown psychological problems when it comes to shelter pet adoptions.

Almost seven out of 10 respondents say they favor a law requiring spaying/neutering pets prior to adoption. Only 12 percent of respondents were neutral on the subject, and 17 percent opposed a mandate.

When it comes to euthanasia, about 71 percent of respondents said that animal shelters should only be allowed to euthanize animals "when they are too sick to be treated or too aggressive to be adopted."

The October 2011 survey was conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Corporate Communications. The survey has a margin sampling error of plus or minus 3.6 percent.