The ASL (Local Sanitary Agency) dog pound in Milan is a sanitary structure where stray dogs (dogs which have run away from their owners, abandoned dogs and free ranging dogs) are housed after being found. Dogs cannot be adopted during the first 10 days. After this period, dogs stay in the same structure if space is available (and can be adopted), otherwise they are put in private kennels for unlimited time. Only dogs which are seriously sick or proved to be aggressive and dangerous can be put down through euthanasia (Law 281/91). When an adopted dog is brought back to the pound, the adoptive owner is asked to fill in a questionnaire. However, not everyone accepts to do so.
The aim of this study is to understand: a) the reasons why dogs adopted from the pound are then left again; b) what influences the owner’s decision to leave their pet; c) if the decision is linked to problems caused by the dog or to the owner’s choice.