During the spring 2014 semester, Christy Hoffman, PhD, took six Anthrozoology Master’s program students to study the stray dogs of Puerto Rico and the various efforts in place to help the dogs. A highlight of the trip was visiting the American Airlines cargo area of the San Juan airport to observe dog rescue volunteers as they secured 22 dogs into crates and sent them on their way to animal shelters in the northeastern United States. This experience inspired one student who was on the trip, Kaitlyn Simmons MS ’16, to focus her thesis research on long distance dog transport programs.
Rescue-related dog transport is a hot and controversial topic in the animal shelter and rescue community, but Kaitlyn and Dr. Hoffman found there was little empirical research published on the subject. Kaitlyn worked with Dr. Hoffman to develop and launch a survey that evaluated factors that impacted organizations’ decisions to transfer in dogs over long distances (greater than 100 miles) and assessed what criteria were commonly valued by destination organizations.
After Kaitlyn defended her thesis and graduated, she and Dr. Hoffman continued working together to prepare the study for publication in the journal Animals. The published paper can be found here: http://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/6/2/11.
Submitted by: Sara Morris, PhD, associate vice president, academic affairs