Pandemics and Animal Welfare: A Quantitative Inquiry into how the Covid-19 Pandemic has Affected the Companion Animal Industry in Northwest Arkansas
Date of Graduation
Bachelor of Science in Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences
Committee Member/Second Reader
Since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in late 2019, industries have been impacted globally. The companion animal care industry has not received much recognition in mainstream news, and though multiple grants have been allocated (Nolen, 2020), limited resources were available to individual facilities such as animal shelters, animal day cares, and boarding facilities. Little is known about the long-term effects of the pandemic on these facilities and how companion animal care may have changed. The purpose of this study was to explore the day-to-day impacts and long-term effects of COVID-19 on the companion animal industry in Northwest Arkansas from early 2020 through 2021. This study recruited participants at animal shelters, rescue organizations, and animal daycare and boarding facilities in Northwest Arkansas, and utilized a non-experimental survey research design. Twenty-eight facilities were contacted and six agreed to participate. Initial descriptive statistics (n = 10) showed an overall decrease in the number of clientele (60%) and animal patients (90%) that required their services in 2020, but in 2021 these numbers have increased. Open responses showed that non-profit organizations were not subject to the same mandated shutdowns as other businesses, which was an unexpected finding. The results align with an earlier study in 2020 showing an increase in the number of pet surrenders and abandonments, followed by a notable increase in the number of pet adoptions and foster home applications that had been filled out at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic (Van Dobbenburgh & De Briyne, 2020). However, this study determined that there have been an increased number of animal surrenders since Covid-19 related restrictions have been lifted since 2021, and participants coined the term “pandemic puppies” to describe animals that were adopted for companionship during quarantine and then returned to shelters once restrictions were lifted.
Covid-19, Pandemic, Animal Welfare, Companion Animal Industry, Pets
DeSmet, K. N. (2022). Pandemics and Animal Welfare: A Quantitative Inquiry into how the Covid-19 Pandemic has Affected the Companion Animal Industry in Northwest Arkansas. Animal Science Undergraduate Honors Theses Retrieved from https://scholarworks.uark.edu/anscuht/56
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