Characterising the abandonment and relinquishment of exotic pets in Ireland


AWF Research Fund



Research Period


Area of study

Student Research


This project seeks to characterise the relinquishment and abandonment of exotic pets in Ireland based on data recorded by the national animal welfare charity, the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA), as well as other animal welfare charities that receive government funding. The circumstances of the cases of relinquishment will be categorised using an animal welfare assessment framework. The type of exotic pets, in terms of age and species as well as their health and welfare upon relinquishment, will provide empirical data to support educational resources on responsible exotic pet ownership. A manuscript will be prepared for submission to a peer reviewed journal and summary findings will be disseminated to veterinary professionals and the public across the Republic of Ireland.

This project will provide Matt with an introduction to liaising and working with a national animal welfare charity and smaller charities in Ireland, providing an excellent opportunity for networking with animal health and welfare advocates at the local, national, and potentially international level.

Matt has been involved in previous studies on exotic pet ownership. In 2020 Matt and Alison Hanlon conducted a pilot study aiming to characterise the provision of veterinary services to exotic pets in Ireland, exploring the main concerns of vet professionals towards exotic pet ownership, and their recommendations to support responsible exotic pet ownership: Irish Veterinary Journal (2021)