Last updated: 31 Jan, 2022
Published on: 17 Dec, 2020
The state of pet adoption report 2020-2021
A capture of pet adoption trends and insights. Explore how the rescue community from around Australia responded about rescue work, the benefits and struggles that come along with it, and what it was like to be a rescue worker last year.
Pet Adoption Trends in 2020-2021
Pets looking for homes
The majority of pets coming into care were cats (64.9%), then dogs (30.8%) and the remaining other pets (4.2%) included rabbits (1.8%), guinea pigs (1.5%) and rodents (0.2%).
Stats via PetRescue.com.au 1st July 2020 to 30th June 2021.
Council pounds were the fastest at adopting pets into homes (median of 5.3 days).
Queensland recorded the highest amount of pet adoptions (14,599)
92.11% of pets listed on PetRescue were adopted in this timeframe
The majority of cats coming into care were urban stray cats (37.4%)
Cats came into care of member organisations at twice the rate of dogs
On average, each cat received 546 views and 2 adoption enquiries
Dogs received 4 times the number of views and enquiries as cats
On average, each dog received 2,173 views and 10 adoption enquiries
It took dogs 16.01 days to find a home, but cats were adopted in just 12.677 days
The most unusual pet listed for adoption in 2020/21 was a single fish!
Rabbits found a home in 19 days, while guinea pigs waited 14 days & rodents only 10 days!
Dogs in NSW received the most pageviews (12,532,959 million in total!)
Rescue Sector Insights in 2020-2021
Retaining good volunteers is the number one challenge stated by rescue organisations, with not enough resources to meet demand reported as the second.
The most time-consuming element of a rescuers work was replying to adoption enquiries.
Two-thirds of rescue organisations collaborate with other rescue organisations to manage pets.
Over half of rescue organisations use personal funds to support their rescue operations.
91% of those working in rescue are volunteers, with a majority of these respondents citing juggling paid work and volunteer rescue work as their biggest challenge.
Only 42% of respondents felt their organisations were financially sustainable.
Health & Wellbeing
93% of rescue workers reported suffering from compassion fatigue or burnout.
Only 2% of the rescue community have sought professional help or support from a GP or councillor.
More than half of rescue workers will turn to peers in the sector as their primary source of emotional support.
Rescue organisations were shown to support diversity, rehoming pets to a wide range of homes including, young adults, Indigenous Australians, same-sex couples, non-binary individuals, students and others.
The most common reason for deeming an adoption application unsuitable was that an applicant’s property was unsuitable for the pet.
Tools & Training
76% of respondents use PetRescue.com.au to list and adopt pets at least once a week, with 25% using PetRescue daily.
A lack of human resources and a lack of funding were cited as the main challenges in implementing digital technologies.
84.3% of respondents believe that training opportunities and industry seminars would be beneficial to their organisation but a lack of time and funds hindered their ability to attend these.
Fundraising, grant writing and marketing were listed as the main areas of interest in business development.
Microchipping, animal behaviour and veterinary science were the main areas of interest in animal care.
92.1% of respondents feel that the animal welfare sector is progressing towards a more humane and practical approach for rescue pets.
Legislative change and pound reform is believed to have the highest potential impact in lowering the number of healthy and treatable pets that are killed in Australia each year.
94% of the rescue community believe they are making a positive difference for rescue pets in Australia.
About this report
We know there has been some progress in the animal welfare sector over the past two decades. But just how much?
In order to ensure a safer future for pets, the first step is to start with the data and the insights. This gives us a benchmark to measure progress from and it provides visibility.
The goal of this report is to track the current progress, limitations, setbacks, and opportunities for rescue workers and the animal welfare sector at large. These critical insights will help create real change that can empower individuals working in animal welfare to deliver better outcomes for vulnerable pets.
This report combines insights from PetRescue's adoption platform data and feedback from the rescue community received via reponses through a recent members survey.
PetRescue is a national animal welfare charity with a vision of a future where every pet is safe, respected and loved. Every day, we deliver free pet search and adoption services to thousands of Australian families looking for pets.
PetRescue’s vision is to see a transformed animal welfare system that protects and cares for vulnerable pets.