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Does it matter where our canine companions come from? Student research explores attitudes to adopting and rehoming dogs from in and outside the UK.  

Posted 3 March

“It is important to understand where the majority of dogs are being imported from in order to assess disease transmission...Dog imports could also indicate what welfare is like in those countries.”  

Young woman with long red hair sits on a leather sofa next to a small terrier dog

Lesley Sykes

A Harper Adams University student is researching the attitudes of UK residents when adopting a dog. Would they prefer to rehome a dog from the UK or from further afield? Has COVID-19 had an impact on these attitudes? 

Lesley Sykes, 22, is a final year student studying for her BSc (Hons) Animal Behaviour & Welfare degree. Lesley is researching dog adoption attitudes in the UK with her honours research project entitled “An investigation into how attitudes of UK residents towards UK dog adoption have changed in light of COVID-19.” 

Through surveys of dog owners and potential dog owners, Lesley is seeking to understand why people adopt from overseas. “It is important for me to understand why people might want to rehome dogs from overseas and what people might consider risk factors. 

“It is important to understand where the majority of dogs are being imported from in order to assess disease transmission (what diseases could the dogs bring over from those countries). Dog imports could also indicate what welfare is like in those countries.”  

Lesley, originally from Cyprus, has a keen interest in animal welfare and how it can be improved “I chose my degree in Animal Behaviour & Welfare because I love animals and live in a country where the animal welfare is very poor.” 

“I chose Harper because the modules on this course interest me and align with what I want to do after I graduate” 

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