Behavior Analysis of Companion-Animal Overpopulation: A Conceptualization of the Problem and Suggestions for Intervention

Angela K. Fournier, E. Scott Geller


This paper conceptualizes the societal problem of companion-animal overpopulation and offers a framework to humanely reduce the current surplus of animals and prevent further overpopulation. Overpopulation is described as a societal problem, with the individual and collective behavior of people as a causal agent. Variables in the environment, including animal-welfare agencies and the pet industry, are also discussed as contributing factors. Behavior and environment factors described in the conceptualization are targeted in a proposed framework for intervention. The intervention framework details relevant target populations and agencies, target behaviors, and dependent measures for evaluating intervention programs. Finally, environmental contingencies are described that support current behavior deficits and will likely impede environment and behavior changes proposed in the framework. It is suggested that behavior analysis can be used to manipulate these contingencies to initiate and sustain proposed changes to beneficially impact companion-animal overpopulation.

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Published by the University of Illinois at Chicago Library

And Behaviorists for Social Responsibility