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Although the motto “adopt don’t shop” has increased the general public’s awareness surrounding shelters and animal adoption, there is not a whole lot of information based on people’s perceptions of what makes an animal “adoptable” or not and how this impacts shelter animals’ quality of life. In one study, it was discovered how the act of shelter employees labeling each dog based on its breed could have a major impact on the dogs adoptability. So why is this? Why are people so caught up in the breed, attractiveness, age, health, or as one study describes the “sociability” of dogs as the main determinants for a dogs adoption? This research aims to better understand why and how people label animals as “adoptable” and what this means for shelters and the populations of animals within them. Research methods will include: 1) semi-structured interviews with animal care takers in several Los Angeles animal care facilities and 2) an in person survey of the people who enter these facilities. Results will provide information about how animal owners perceive their own pets and/or potential pets based on characteristics of “adoptability,” and how animal care workers view their role in influencing these perceptions. Findings may aid local shelters in promoting adoption and improving strategies to alter the general public’s perspectives on viewing animals as more than just commodity pets but rather see them as individual beings that all deserve to be “adoptable.”

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Who Would You Bring Home? People’s Perceptions of Animal Adoptability