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Free-Roaming Urban Pets

Bruce Max Feldmann and Tony H. Carding
Health Services Reports
Vol. 88, No. 10 (Dec., 1973), pp. 956-962
DOI: 10.2307/4594959
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4594959
Page Count: 7
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Free-Roaming Urban Pets
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Abstract

Free-roaming urban pets cause significant problems because they harbor zoonoses, bite human beings, cause accidents, destroy property and wildlife, and create nuisances and pollution. In the United States, about 30,000 persons each year receive post-exposure anti-rabies treatment; the national animal bite rate is estimated to be 1 per 250 persons per year. The Humane Society of the United States estimates that local governments and humane societies spend $250 million annually on impoundment and destruction of unwanted animals. Simultaneous application of several control measures could substantially reduce the number of stray and straying animals. The measures include discouraging ownership of pets, encouraging ownership of male or spayed female pets by charging owners of unspayed females for expensive breeders' licenses, encouraging the surrender of unwanted pets, and prohibiting the abandonment of pet animals. Adoption of these measures must also include mass education of the public to create an awareness of the urban hazards of roaming animals and of the responsibilities of pet ownership. Further, control measures will not be accepted unless the public is convinced that unwanted animals are captured and impounded, and unclaimed ones put to death, in an efficient and humane manner.

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