The AVA Annual Conference is the nation’s premier veterinary event, covering all fields of veterinary science and in 2017 brought together over 920 veterinary professionals and 115 exhibitors.

We hope you will join us for the 2018 AVA Annual Conference in Brisbane, 13-18 May.    
Visit conference.ava.com.au to register.    To download a pdf file of the entire program click here.
Wednesday, May 16 • 8:00am - 8:30am
Why you need to know about online relinquishments of pets

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Most people associate relinquishment of pets with pounds/shelters. In this study we examined ads on a popular online website (gumtree.com.au) in Australia to identify dogs and cats being relinquished. In February 2016 a total of 2640 ads for dogs and 2093 ads for cats being relinquished were identified. Approximately 51% and 45% of ads were for pure breed and cross breed dogs, respectively, with a minority of cat ads stating breed and most of these pure bred. The most common dog breeds were the Staffordshire Terrier and Kelpie, while the Ragdoll and Domestic Shorthair were the most common cat breeds. Compared to the State human populations, ads for relinquished pets on Gumtree were over-represented in Queensland and under-represented in Victoria. More of the cat than dog ads were for free animals. A total of 15 people who relinquished a pet on gumtree-com.au were surveyed, and reasons for using the website included: they thought the shelters were full; wanted to see/interview the new owner; originally got the animal on Gumtree, and; used Gumtree for other things and it works. The data collected highlights the internet as a major platform used by people relinquishing their pets. Although the internet provides an efficient system to find new homes, risks include new owners not being informed of behavioural problems (e.g. aggression), and the potential for hoarders to pick up free animals. Regulation may not be the answer, but research to develop guidelines is necessary to protect the welfare of relinquished pets and their owners.

avatar for Susan Hazel

Susan Hazel

Senior Lecturer, University of Adelaide
Susan Hazel is a veterinary graduate from the University of Sydney. She is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Animal & Veterinary Sciences at the University of Adelaide and teaches in animal behaviour, welfare and ethics. Susan is a Member of 2 South Australian Animal Ethics Committees... Read More →

Wednesday May 16, 2018 8:00am - 8:30am
Plaza P2 Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre