Monday, October 31, 2011

Lose a house, lose a pet?

This is a sad little consequence of the housing bubble, one I had not considered.

Was pet relinquishment related to foreclosure?: A spatial research note from California during the height of foreclosure

Gregory Morris & Jennifer Steffler, Social Science Journal, forthcoming

Abstract: Media reports asserted that the 2008 foreclosure crisis unleashed a rash of pet relinquishments, especially in California's central valley, an area that had the highest U.S. foreclosure rates that year. However, reports on the foreclosure/ relinquishment association relied on anecdotal evidence provided by animal shelters, which is known to be flawed since many people do not give a reason for relinquishment, or give a false reason. This study compares separate data sources for the central valley city of Turlock, 2008: foreclosure data from the Stanislaus County Recorder's Office (N = 235) and relinquishment data from the Turlock Animal Shelter (N = 248). Contrary to shelter driven data, these separate data sources reported only one shared address. However, spatial analyses show that foreclosures and relinquishments were concentrated in similar areas. Analyses also show that unaltered (non-spayed/neutered) dogs are more likely to be concentrated in lower socioeconomic (SES) areas. While our initial finding contradicts recent media reports, spatial analyses verify other research on the social problems associated with concentrated foreclosures, and lend support for policies designed to reduce breeding during heighted periods of foreclosure and other economic crises.

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