The American Veterinarian Medical Association provided the ranking in its U.S. Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook, which breaks down pet ownership by state.
The report indicates that 45.2 percent of Mississippi households owned a dog in 2011.
“The (ranking) doesn’t surprise me at all,” said Kimberly Kelly, veterinarian at Cloverhaven Animal Hospital in Tupelo. “I think Mississippi’s numbers are high because we live in a very rural part of the country, and people have the means to own multiple pets.”
This year’s report lists data from 2011, but the study was conducted throughout 2012 and released earlier this month. The data is collected from the AVMA’s 82,500 member veterinarians across the country.
“We have estimated that about 10 percent of households, or about 7,300 people, in Tupelo own pets,” said Tupelo-Lee Humane Society Executive Director Debbie Hood. “At the Humane Society, we have seen a steady increase of people coming in and adopting pets.”
The increase in the rankings has produced an increase in pet-related revenue for local store owners.
“Pet supply sales have steadily increased over the last few years,” Tupelo’s Tractor Supply store manager John Hay said. “We’re seeing that animal supplies have become a larger and larger part of our sales.”
The states ranked above Mississippi in dog ownership are Arkansas, New Mexico, Kentucky, Missouri and West Virginia. The sixth-place ranking is something that Mississippi should be proud of, according to Kelly.
“People are creating stronger relationships with their pets,” Kelly said. “That’s always a good thing to see.”