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Southland, A., Dowling-Guyer, S., & McCobb, E. (2019). Effect of Visitor Perspective on Adoption Decisions at One Animal Shelter. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, Vol. 22, No. 1: 1-12.

This study investigated the visitor experience at one urban animal shelter. While several previous studies have examined the reasons particular nonhuman animals are chosen by adopters, few have investigated the possible reasons one would visit a shelter and leave without adopting. Over a two-month period, 158 visitors were surveyed after they were finished touring the shelter. One quarter of those exiting the shelter had adopted a pet (companion animal) compared to 11% who had been planning to adopt that day but did not. Almost 20% of survey respondents were just visiting with no plans for pet adoption either that day or in the near future. Being affectionate and friendly were important characteristics sought by potential adopters, although non-adopters reported more frequently than adopters that the animal’s reaction to them was important. Shelters should work toward increasing chances for pets to connect and interact with visitors and focus on educating and retaining the interest of those who are not quite ready for a new pet.

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