Decker Sparks, J. L., Camacho, B., Tedeschi, P., & Morris, K. N. (2018). Race and ethnicity are not primary determinants in utilizing veterinary services in underserved communities in the United States. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 21(2), 120-129.
A retrospective database analysis (2011–2015) evaluated associations between race and ethnicity and veterinary service utilization by sampling 83,260 companion animals whose guardians (owners) self-identified as White, Black, or Latino/a from 39 Humane Society of the United States Pets for Life (PFL) sites across the United States. Controlling for socioeconomic status, the percentage of nonhuman animals sterilized through PFL whose owners were Latino/a or Black was substantially higher than in previously reported findings. While Latinos/as had the highest mean number of days from first contact with the program to consent, they also had the highest percentage of owners accepting the voucher during initial contact. Logistic regression models suggested that although meaningful, race and ethnicity were not primary determinants of veterinary service utilization. When veterinary and animal welfare organizations deliberately remove structural barriers embedded with racial inequalities, individuals, regardless of race and ethnicity, proceed with companion-animal sterilization. Therefore, service providers must use unbiased, informed, and culturally competent practices to improve companion-animal welfare through the optimization of veterinary services, including spay and neuter.
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