Dogs on the Move: Factors Impacting Animal Shelter and Rescue Organizations' Decisions to Accept Dogs from Distant Locations

Animals (Basel). 2016 Feb 3;6(2):11. doi: 10.3390/ani6020011.


Long-distance dog transfer programs are a topic of burgeoning interest in the animal welfare community, but little research has focused on such programs. This exploratory study, which surveyed 193 individuals associated with animal shelter and rescue organizations in the United States, evaluated factors that impacted organizations' decisions to transfer in dogs over long distances (>100 miles) and assessed what criteria were commonly valued by destination organizations. Specifically, we examined the following aspects of long-distance transfer programs: (1) logistics of long-distance dog transfers; (2) factors impacting dog selection; (3) medical requirements; (4) partnerships formed between source and destination organizations; and (5) perceptions of long-distance dog transfer programs by individuals affiliated with the destination organizations. This study revealed that many logistical considerations factor into transfer decisions and the formation of healthy partnerships between source and destination organizations. Participants indicated their organization's willingness to receive dogs of various sizes, coat colors and ages, but organizations often had restrictions regarding the breeds they would accept. Study findings indicate some organizations have strict quarantine policies and pre-transfer medical requirements, while others have no such requirements.

Keywords: animal shelter; animal welfare; domestic dog; relocation; transfer; transport.