Maddie's Fund, the Pet Rescue Foundation, has made a generous pledge to Morris Animal Foundation to help support the development and testing of a behavioral screening tool for dogs relinquished to shelters.
The gift will support an MAF study that is being conducted at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine by James A. Serpell, PhD. Other sponsors of the study include Firehouse Charities/Firehouse Animal Health Centers, American Humane Association, and P&G Pet Care.
With financial support from MAF and now Maddie's Fund, Dr. Serpell is developing a short survey that will assess the behavioral information provided by owners who give up their pets. His goal is to help shelter staff better predict the adoptability of an animal, which will increase the number of animals that stay in homes after adoption.
According to MAF, nearly half of owners cite behavior problems as a contributing factor to giving up a pet, and a quarter cite behavior as the primary factor. Even when not specifically reported in shelter intake interviews, behavior problems are likely a contributor because they weaken the human-animal bond, the MAF reported.
Maddie's Fund is hoping to create a no-kill nation where all healthy and treatable shelter dogs and cats are guaranteed a loving home. Visit www.maddiesfund.org to learn more.
The MAF has funded nearly 1,400 humane animal health studies with funds totaling more than $51 million. To learn more, log on to www.morrisanimalfoundation.org.