Community-Based Solutions to Managing Companion Animal Populations

The aim of the Community-Based Solutions to Managing Companion Animal Populations webpages are to provide guidance on how to assess companion animal population management needs and how to decide upon the most effective and efficient approach to managing the population in a humane manner.

The status, composition and size of companion animal populations can vary significantly between areas so there is no single intervention that will work for all situations. Therefore, the need for initial assessment and consideration of all potential relevant factors before deciding on a program design is strongly encouraged. The only concept considered universal is the need for a comprehensive program that is focused on causes and not solely on treating the symptom, namely the roaming companion animal population. This toolkit is meant to provide information to areas without current animal management programs to assist in their development  within their jurisdiction.

The RHS seeks to improve animal welfare and is dedicated to improving the well-being of animals in our community. Companion animal population management is an area of concern for everyone due to the welfare issues involved.

Roaming companion animals may encounter a range of welfare problems, including malnutrition, disease, injury and abuse. Uncontrolled or uneducated attempts to control the population may also present significant welfare problems, including inhumane or cruel methods of killing or restraint, and poorly equipped and managed holding facilities.

Within any population of animals there will be different categories of ownership. These are:

  • owned with restricted movements
  • owned and allowed to roam
  • unowned

There will be welfare issues relating to all categories of ownership. However, for the purposes of this document, the aim of companion animal population management is to manage roaming populations and the risks these may present. Whether reducing the size of a roaming population is considered necessary will, to some extent, be subjective depending on the group or agency involved. For example, a government agency responsible for public health and safety may be concerned specifically with roaming populations, including:

  • transmission of disease to humans (zoonoses) and other animals
  • injury and fear caused by aggressive behaviour
  • nuisance behaviours
  • livestock/wildlife predation
  • causing of traffic accidents

On the other hand, in some areas, roaming animals may be valued, owned animals that are allowed to roam unrestricted by the local community. A reduction in their numbers may be neither necessary nor wanted, but improving the welfare and health of the population and reducing zoonotic risks may still be recognized as beneficial and desirable.

This information considers management options that address both categories (owned and unowned) of companion animals. There are five integral steps of a comprehensive population management program.

  • Initial data collection and assessment
  • Analyzing and interpreting assessment data with consideration of the influential factors in population management
  • The components of a comprehensive population program based upon specific circumstances
  • Designing the intervention
  • Implementation, monitoring and evaluation

These pages use and expand upon recognized strategies implemented by the International Companion Animal Management Coalition (cited below). Throughout this document, additional resources will be referenced that may assist with the development of an effective population management program.

http://www.icam-coalition.org. (2009) ICAM Humane Dog Population Management Guidance. Retrieved from http://www.icam-coalition.org/downloads/Humane_Dog_Population_Management_Guidance_English.pdf

http://www.icam-coalition.org. (2011) ICAM Humane Cat Population Management Guidance. Retrieved from http://www.icam-coalition.org/downloads/ICAM-Humane%20cat%20population.PDF

The information contained and/or referenced within this webpage is for general guidance only. The Regina Humane Society has made every attempt to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information provided. The Regina Humane Society does not accept any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, content, completeness or reliability of the information contained.