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Post-war Demographic and Ecological Survey of Dog Populations and Their Human Relationships in Sierra Leone. (A Case Study of Urban Freetown)

Science Journal of Agricultural Research & Management
© Author(s) 2011. CC Attribution 3.0 License.
Research Article
Published By
Science Journal Publication
International Open Access Publis her
Volume 2012 (2012), Issue 2
¹Mr. Roland Suluku
²Mr. Ibrahim Abu-Bakarr
²Mr. Jonathan Johnny
³Prof F. Jonsyn-Ellis
¹Department of Animal Science, Njala University, Sierra Leone
²Department of Wildlife Management, Ecotourism and Biodiversity Conservation
Njala University, Sierra Leone
²Department of Wildlife Management, Ecotourism and Biodiversity Conservation
Njala University, Sierra Leone
Accepted 25th March, 2012
³Department of Biological Sciences,School of Environmental Sciences
Njala University ,Sierra Leone.
transportation. As stated by Boris .M. Levinson, (1969a),
humansinitially domesticated the dog to meet theirown
psychological needs, assist in Labour and also provide food.
This research conducted on 900 dog-owning households
randomly selected in urban Freetown investigated dog
population and ecology, and how they relate with human
populations, with regards to rabies. Pre-tested
questionnaires designed according to World Health
Organization standards were administered from Allen town
in the east to Juba hills in the west. Area measurements
using prescribed methods were done in the east, central and
west of Freetown.Dog population was obtained by counting
the number of dogs in the three clusters..Results obtained
revealed anestimated total dog population of 13,246 with a
ratio of 1:14 dogs to humans respectively., Life expectancy
of dogs was 3-4years, although some lived up to 7 years and
above.More maleswere involved in dog rearing than
females. Although 72% of dog owners are skilled income
earners, however, 81% do not feed their dogs with canned
food; hence 88% don't know the cost of feeding their dogs.
Approximately, 44% of households allow their dogs to
scavenge garbage dumps and to mix with other dogs.Most
dogs (77%) are owned by parents, mainly for security
purposes, but 59% do not monitor or register their dogs
with veterinary clinics and the Ministry of Health and
Sanitation. Lack of care and attention accounted for 78% of
dog mortality; hence dog owners need to pay closer
attention in the management of their dogs to reduce the
incidence of dog bites and rabies for a healthy co-existence
with them.
KEYWORD: Dog,Survey,Questionnaire
The relationship between man and dog Canis lupus familaris
is multi-faceted dating as farback as 13000 years before the
birth of Christ (Morey and Darcy, 2006). Originally, dogs
provided food and companionship, and later, dogs assisted
with other human activities including hunting, herding and
Throughout history, the bond established between humans
and dogs has elevated their position and contribution to
society to include more service oriented functions including
assisting the deaf and blind, detective work, search and
rescue work (at sea and land), therapy dogs, war dogs and
livestock guarding. Humans have manipulated the breeding
lines of dogs for centuries to establish specific colors, sizes,
and personality traits that have utilized for sporting events
and exhibitions to demonstrate proficiency in agility, racing,
and sledding.Domestic dogs have followed and continue to
follow the migration of man and can be found in nearly every
part of the world where human beings live.The purpose of
keeping dogs varies within and across individual
communities and can include companionship,
transportation, security, food acquisition and religious
beliefs (Hart La, 1995a).Man in turn provides protection,
companionship and accommodation and a regular source of
food for dogs. These mutual benefits have built a trusting
relationship throughout history between dogs and people
and ultimately have made life easier for both. (McGourty,
2002). In Sierra Leone, where 63% of the human population
(National Statistics Sierra Leone, 2006) lives in rural areas,
the major activity is subsistence farming. Here, dogs are
used mainly for hunting. In urban areas of the country, dogs
are mainly kept for guarding property. A few people in both
rural and urban communities keep dogs for both
companionship and as pets. Hunting dogs are used to deter
pests from destroying crops, and acquiring bush meat for
human consumption. Although many societies derive
significant benefits from their associations with dogs, dogs
can also pose significant public health risk to humans (Talan
DA et al, 1999; Wandeler AI, Bingham J, 2000; Weiss HB
1998). The transmission of rabies virus from dogs to
humans undoubtedly carries the most serious threat and
severe consequences. Dogs are the most important
reservoirs of rabies virus in many parts of the world,
Corresponding Author: Mr. Roland Suluku
Department of Animal Science, Nja la University, Sierra Leone
Science Journals Publication(ISSN:2276-8572)
Page 2
particularly in Africa south of the Sahara. No diagnostic or
laboratory confirmation of rabies has being conducted in
Sierra Leone after 1974, due to a lack of the necessary
infrastructure. In many parts of the world, owned and
unsupervised dogs have easy access to contaminated waste,
which is fed to them by their owners, or which they find
around slaughter houses or butcher markets. This free range
scavenging exposes dogs to disease and they can become
infected with parasites, such as Echinococcus granulose, and
subsequently expose people to cystic echinococcosis
(Ouhelli et al, 1997). As in other animals, dogs harbour a
great variety of macro parasites, microorganisms and
viruses. A large proportion of these infectious agents that
are disseminated among, and carried by dogs, are also
harmful to man. Daily interactions between unsupervised
dogs, either during mating, casual interaction or playing,
provide opportunities for rabies virus and other pathogens
to be transferred to man and other animals (Wandeler et al,
1993). During the eleven year old civil war (1991-2002)
inSierra Leone, a large proportion of the human population
was internally displaced. Whitfield J, (2003) confirmed that
the war displaced nearly half of the population. Many people
moved from rural areas to Freetown, increasing the
population from one million (1,000,000) to two million five
hundred thousand (2,500, 000). This lead to high incidence
of crime in the city compelling most residents to buy and
rear dogs for security purposes. Koroma A.M, (2009)
reported that analysis of police statistics between 1998 and
2006 showed a clear increase in the crime rate in Sierra
Leone, with the western area, (Freetown), recording the
highest number of incidents (32,305),compared to the
Eastern (7,182),Northern (9,503) and Southern (4,019)
provinces. This number dropped slightly in 2001 for the
western area to 31,009.The overall effect of the increased
crime rate and war was a net increase in human and dog
population in urban Freetown that ultimately resulted in an
increase in the number of garbage dumps, displaced human
population and refugee camps in and around Freetown. The
expanding garbage dumps, dilapidated and burned houses,
and broken vehicles, became an ideal resting places for
unsupervised dogs to reproduce and multiply, which acted
as an incentive for owned dogs to join them. Weak
implementation of government policy and little concern for
dogs enabled them to establish their own territory where
they lived freely among the human population. The evidence
indicates that the relationship between man and dog,
particularly in the capital, requires an in depth study, to
examine the increasing dog population. The practical
importance of collecting data on dog populations is a
prerequisite for developing a strategy for animal disease
control and vaccination campaigns and for ecological and
epidemiological studies that could be replicated in other
parts of the country. The objective of this research was to
establish baseline demographic and ecological data of the
dog population in Urban Freetown for use by public health
and veterinary officers in planning rabies control programs,
and to improve the relationship between man and dogs in
Freetown, and the country as a whole. Further studies will
be conducted in other regions to compare the results
The survey was conducted in the Urban District of the
Western area of Freetown in Sierra Leone, starting from
Allen town in the east to Juba hills in the west. Because they
arethe politically demarcated boundary between the urban
and rural district of Freetown, the study area was chosen
because of the high number of reported cases of dog bites
in police stations and treatment centers at veterinary clinics
from these areas (personal interview). The western area is
divided into two districts; (urban and rural) and the survey
was conducted in the Greater District known as Urban
Freetown. The sample area (82 km2), with a population of
746,000 people, was divided into three clusters (East
=449,479, West =245,749 andCentral=69,256) based on the
2004 population census conducted by National Central
Statistics of Sierra Leone. A total of 900 households, 300
from each cluster owning dogs, were randomly selected.A
short structured questionnaire, according to World Health
Organization standards (WHO, 1999) were administered to
every fifth house on a street within each cluster. If no dogs
were found in that house or compound, the next fifth house
was selected until all houses on the street are
exhausted.Thesequestions were pre-testedand found to be
appropriate for the survey Three separate areas within each
cluster were selected and the number of dogs counted .The
number of dogs counted and the area measured was used
to estate the number of dogs per sampled area. The figures
obtained were projected against the actual population of
sampled area to provide an estimate of the total number of
dogs in the study area. Area measurement was
accomplished using metric measuring tape, a ranging pole,
and pegs. The average measured area was 0.13 km2. The
human population in the measured area was confirmed by
counting the number of persons present in the house hold
or compound. The human population obtained in the
measured area in each cluster was added and divided by the
number of clusters to obtain the average human population
in the measured area. The number of dogs in the measured
area was also divided by three to obtain an average number
of dogs in the sampled area. The average number of people
divided by the average number of dogs gave an estimate of
the ratio of dogs to humansin measured areas. Human
density in sampled areas was obtained from (82 km2)
estimated on a scale of 1:125,000 km maps and the
aggregate population was obtained from the 2004 Sierra
Leone National Population Census. The data collected were
analyzed using the Statistics Package for Social Scientist
(SPSS). These were then presented in the form of tables, to
enhance explanation of results.
Page 3
Science Journals Publication(ISSN:2276-8572)
The World Health Organizations standard was used as the
basis for designing the rabies questionnaire for the house
hold survey (WHO/WSPA1990).Respondents owning dogs
were asked their names, age, sex and religion; their
occupations and salary range. Households without dogs
were not interviewed. All households interviewed were
asked the names of the areas where they lived, number of
years spent in locality, number of dependants and dogs
owned. The 900 questionnaires administered were
retrieved after the survey was conducted and were
subsequently analyzed.
House hold information on dog habitats included: food,
water and shelter, and dog management practices. House
hold families owning dogs were asked if they fed their dogs,
types of food given to the dogs and frequency of feeding.
Respondents were also asked if dogs were fed from the
family meal or dependent on it, and the presence of garbage
dumps in the area. All respondents were asked about the
methods they used to feed their dogs, and if their dogs had
access to garbage dumps in and out of their compounds, and
if dog owners used special feeding/eating plates.
Households owning dogs were asked if they provided water
for their animals on a daily basis, the type of water provided,
if this water was provided in a drinking trough, and if they
had streams or rivers in their vicinity. Respondents were
also asked about the places where dogs are housed or slept,
and if they provided sleeping places or shelter for their dogs.
All were asked about the presence of unfinished houses and
abandoned vehicles in the area. Surveyors were given 10
questionnaires each to administer to ten dog-owning family
household in each section.
Dog-owning house hold families were asked which member
of the family owned the dogs, the major purpose of rearing
the dogs, if they were confined or fenced, how dogs were
kept and how many puppies were produced per year, and
the number of survivals and deaths per year. Additional
information included the reproductive performance of
female dogs, and the ratio of male to females dogs. House
hold families were asked about the ages of their dogs, the
age of the oldest dog, how the families disposed of their
waste, and the type of toilet used by the family. Families
were also asked if they would like to own more dogs?, and
if they had observed unsupervised/unowned dogs in their
Dog owning households were asked if dogs were registered,
by what organization, if the dogs taken for treatment, and
where they were treated. Dog owners were queried about
rabies in their compound or surrounding areas.
Respondents were also asked about the causes of death, if
signs before death were similar to those of rabies, and how
many dogs have died of rabies. All were asked about the age
that recorded the highest mortality.
Science Journals Publication(ISSN:2276-8572)
Page 4
Dog human relationship data were collected from
respondents in all of the clusters. Respondents were ask ed
if their dogs were restricted or confined, the number of dogs
in the family, compound and per house hold, average life
expectancy of dogs reared, average age range in the
population, and number of births per year per female. House
hold families were also asked about the ratio of male to
female per birth, estimated human and dog population, the
number of dogs in the neighborhood and percentage of dogs
Table 1 represents the social economic data of respondents.
A total of 900 dog owning households were interviewed
between the 2nd -4th June, 2008, of which 512(57%) were
males and 388(35%) female. Within these dog owning
families, 583(65%) were Christians and 317(35%)
Muslims. This figure is contrary to the Sierra Leone Muslim
Atlas 2004, which show that about 75% of the population
are Muslim and nearly 25% are Christians. A breakdown of
dog ownership in the study area shows revealed that 46%
of households owned one dog, 29% owned two dogs,16%
owned four dogs and 9% owned six dogs and above.
The ecology and habitat of dogs refers to the basic facilities
dog owners provide for their animals, such as food, water
and shelter. This is represented in Table 2.Seventy-four
percent of the respondents (692) reported that they fed
their dogs with kitchen left oversor household refuse, and
allow them to feed on garbage. The majority of peoplehad a
source of income, but this is not reflected in their
expenditure on feeding dogs. The majority of dog owners
88 %( 796) do not know how much they spend on their dogs
per week, 7% spend US$3.0 a week and 3% spend
U$6.0.Data regarding the methods of feeding dogs reveal
that 626(70%) partly feed their dogs whilst 17% of dogs in
turn complements the effort of their owner by scavenging.
Only 121(13%) fed their dogs daily in confinement, and of
these, 579(64%) placed the food in plates and 321 (36%)
do not. During feeding,69% provide tap water and 31% of
dogs find a source of water for themselves. The majority of
people(66%) provide shelter for their dogs. However, one
third of dog owners donot provide shelter 34 %( 307).The
type of shelter provided include kennels12 %( 109) but
some of these dogs sleep on the streets in front of their
compound 18%(166),whilst the rest co-habit with their
owners 625(69%).
In this study, 77% of dogs are owned by parents (father 420
and mother275) and17% by children. Dogs were owned
mainly for security purposes 81% (731), which explains
why a large percentage of the dogs were owned by parents
and only few as pets for children A small percentage claimed
to use dogs as food (0.4%).Most of these dogs spend part of
their time scavenging in garbage dumps and back yard for
food, and return later after scavenging on these sites, whilst
the others stay permanently on their own around these
sites. Most people use dust bins to dispose of household
refuse 53 %( 476), whilst 14 %( 125) throw house hold
refuse directly into garbage dump, but 25 %(221) use plastic
bags. Most interviewed stated that they see stray dogs in
their communities represented by 630(70%), as seen in
Table 3.
Table 4 shows the canine and human relationship. Most
residents in urban Freetown do not register their dogs
547(61%). People who have registered their dogs are those
who received free rabies vaccination from SLAWS,
represented by 55 % (494). Most people refuse to take their
dogs for rabies vaccination 45% (406). The non-compliance
of people to vaccinate their dogs is due to their lack of
knowledge about rabies, 74 %( 662), whilst those who know
about it represent 26%(238).The life expectancy of dogs
in study area varies from one to three years 40.0%(360).On
average they can live for between four to seven years and
above 44% (398).Most of the dogs were between the age of
four to six 45%(402), and one to three years 33%(298)
After the cessation of hostilities, manypeople returned with
few dogs, whilst others left their dogs behind with no one
to care for them. These categories of dogs, combined with
unsupervised dogs, led to an increase in dog populations in
Freetown. Similar increases in dog population also occurred
during the gulf war in Israel, when in January 1991,
residents of metropolitan Tel Aviv area evacuated their
home and abandoned their pets (Shimshony. A 1997) .With
decrease in human population and reduction in the number
of garbage sites, ownerless and unsupervised dogs now had
limited feeding areas, and were forced to move from house
to house in search of food. They consume all available food
that they come in contact with. Children are the most
vulnerable category of people who easily predispose
themselves to diseases transmitted by dogs. In some
instances, these dogs eat with children from the same basin
or lick their hands, wounds and mouth, thus increasing the
possibility to contract the rabies virus. Children are thus at
high risk to contract rabies and are serious victims of dog
bite in Tanzania (Knobel et al 2005) and America (Overall
1998). Most of the respondents who rear dogs are between
the age ranges of 1-64 years, representing the active
population. It was however shown that the old (mature)
people owned and rear more dogs (45.2%) than their
children (43.8%). This is probably attributed to the fact that
most parents rear dogs mainly for security reason,
particularly so during the war. The low percentage of
children involved in dog rearing is probably because most
parents or homes do not rear dogs as pets. Active old people
above 65 years also rear dogs maybe for companionship. It
was also observed that men (56.9%)were more involved in
dog rearing than their female (43.1%)counterparts. Men
being the head of most household could be responsible for
this. Aside from this, studies have revealed an association
between adult gender composition of household and dog
ownership. For example, in Kuwait, males were reported of
having positive attitude towards dogs than females (Al-
Fayez et al. 2003) whereas, for the semi rural communities
in United Kingdom (Westgarth C et al.2007) and several
North American and European countries (Bagley DK and
Gonsman VL 2005), adult females were more associated
with dog ownership. Although about 70% of the population
in Sierra Leone are muslims, this was however, not reflected
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Science Journals Publication(ISSN:2276-8572)
in the survey conducted where 64.8% of respondents were
christians and 35.2% were muslims. Most muslims
interviewed indicated that they do notraise dogs because
they are filthy and impure while othersindicated that dogs
shed their hair on praying mats hence, making their prayers
invalid. Some however, maintained that they rear dogs due
to security reasons. Religious beliefs about not wanting dogs
are no longer effective in pastoral settlements, where
livestock ownership encourages people to own more dogs
(Foltz RC 2005). Owning dogs is not a major religious issue
in Sierra Leone. Like many other countries in the world, such
as Zimbabwe, there is religious tolerance regarding dog
ownership The majority of the people interviewed
wasskilled (71.7%) and are engaged in income generation
activities whereas 13% are unskilled, and 15.4% are traders.
This indicates that most dog owners have asource of income
and have the capacity to feed their animals this is not
however, reflected in the management of dogs as most
people hardly budget for their animals and no special diet
is provided for them. A number of American studies have
shown relationship between dog ownership and household
income (Wise and Kushman 1984). The majority (43.0%)
of the people haddependants between the age range 1-
9years (37.6%). This shows that there is a high dependency
rate, which explains why some families budget little money
for their dogs. The majority of respondents interviewed
(80.9%) do not feed their dogs with canned food, which
explain the status, type of relationship and care people in
Freetown gives to dogs. Although the settlement of people
in the city is most often based on social status, this was not
shown by the people who feed their dogs with canned food.
It was further revealed that most of the respondents use
alternative sources of food (74.3%) to feed their dogs, while
only (17.7%) feed their dogs with rice. This is due to the
high increase in cost of rice which most people at the time
of interview were not able to buy and feed their families.
Most people (88.4%) were not able to accurately calculate
the cost of feeding their dogs per week and only (6.9%) says
they spend US$3.00 per week. It can be seen that majority
of respondent, spent little or almost nothing on their
animals. This further explains that dog management such
as feeding is not a priority to most families which has led to
large numbers of strayed and unsupervised dogs roaming
the streets of Freetown. Garbage dumps were present in
some communities (43.3%) which probably explain why
some families pay less attention to feeding their dogs. The
presence of garbage dumps in some of these communities,
relief some families the burden of regularly feeding their
dogs. This survey revealed that 42.9% of families gave free
access to their dogs to feed on garbage dumps, whilst others
could not. In Freetown, 17% of respondents who own dogs
manage them on free range basis. These categories of people
do not feed their animals. The animals feed on garbage
dumps and faeces. Butler (1998) reported that 53.3% of
house holdin rural Zimbabwewho do not have toilet, use the
surroundings, therebyprovide human faeces as food for
dogs. Others 69% subject their dogs to semi-intensive
management systems; partly feeding their dogs and the dogs
find additional food from the surroundings. Semi intensive
system of feeding has led to high number of street dogs in
the city as most people using this system, often abandon
their dogs and give little or no attention, thus causing the
dogs to remain permanently in the surrounding garbage
dumps. This type of behavior of unsupervised dogs is
common in sub Saharan African countries like Kenya (Kitala
et al. 1993a), Zambia (de Balogh et al. 1993a) and Tanzania
(Clever land and Dye 1995a). Tap water is distributed
throughout Freetown and has been a major source of
drinking water (68.8%) for all dogs. Most of the pipes
connecting houses are old and dilapidated with many holes
.These leaking pipes serve as a source of drinking water
(21.1%) for dogs. Drainages and potholes also serve as an
alternative source (16.1%) to the others and stream
(4.0%).Availability of drinking water becomes a major
problem during the dry season due to lack of rainfall
anddecrease inthe volume of water atGumadamthat supply
Freetown. Survey results revealed that 69.4% of
respondents co-habit with their dogs in their houses or
within their compounds. Other category of respondents
(17.1%) allows their dogs to sleep outside their houses or
compounds. These are mainly for security reasons and
34.1% dog owners do not know where their dogs sleep. Dog
guarding is common in sub Saharan Africa, for example 45%
of people in urban Nigeria keep dogs for guarding
(Oboegbulem and Nwakonobi 1989), 70% in Zimbabwe
(Brooks 1990) and in pastoral communities in Africa
(Macpherson and Wachira1997a). There was no significant
difference between low-income and higher-income earners
in terms of management of dogs in Freetown. Most
respondents (60.1%) do allow their dogs to interact with
other dogs but 39.9% do not, for fear of transfer of diseases.
Foggin (1990) confirmed that contact with rabid dogs was
responsible for the 90% human rabies fatalities in
Zimbabwe. Wandeler et al. (1993) affirm that frequent
contact between unsupervised dogs and between
unsupervised dogs and humans either during playing or
mating are means through which rabies and other
pathogens are transmitted between unsupervised dogs and
human. Ealum et al. (2001) maintained that supervised dogs
are also of public health concern because they are also
potential carriers of zoonosis. Results show that 59.7% of
respondent did not register their dogs with any
organization. This makes it difficult for recognized
institutions to accurately keep data on dogs. However,
38.9% of some respondent did register their dogs, of which
22.1% with veterinary clinic, 9.7% with Ministry o f Health
and Sanitation and 9.0% with private clinics. Those who
claim to have registered their dogs hardly take them for
treatment. About fifty-five percent of respondents
vaccinated their dogs against rabies which was freely
provided by Sierra Leone Animal Welfare Society and 45.5%
did not. Major causes of dog mortality in Freetown are due
to lack of care and attention (33.3%), diseases (21.8%) and
food (10.3%). These causes are consistent with other parts
of sub-Saharan Africa. Death rate is high among Puppies
(28.6%) and among mature dogs (32.1%). This study
revealed that life expectancy of dogs in Freetown is between
three to seven years. This falls within the age range of dogs
reared in Zimbabwe (Butler and Bingham 2000).
Results presented in this paper will help veterinary and
public health officers, bilateral and multilateral agencies in
Science Journals Publication(ISSN:2276-8572)
Page 6
the planning and implementation of rabies control programs
in Sierra Leone and other rabies affected areas. The ratio of
dogs to human is consistent with that of sub Saharan Africa
.This implies that dog figures can be obtained and
extrapolated against national population statistics to obtain
more accurate and reliable dog numbers throughout the
country. Obtaining accurate and reliable statistics on dogs
will help in raising awareness and sensitization of the entire
Sierra Leonean public. This will help in teaching ideal
management practices to children at schools and among dog
owning families, thereby making people to grow more
interested in dog and animal management. Constant
attention and care given to dogs will help in control of rabies
in Sierra Leone.
Authors' Contributions
Roland Suluku conceived the ideas, designed the questions
with assistance of Dr Wanda and edited the questionnaire.
R. Suluku, administered the questionnaire, analyzed the
results and coordinated the entire process. All authors read
and approved the final draft.
Thanks to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
who provided the fellowship, and through which the project
was conceived. Professor Louis Nel and Dr Wanda
Markoteer who introduced me to rabies, and my head of
department, Dr Saidu Kanu, who always encouraged me to
forge ahead with my ideas. We are grateful to the third year
students of Agriculture General and Education, and first year
honours Animal science that pretested and helped
administer the questionnaireand Masters students of the
same department who helped in the supervision. We are
grateful to the engineering students in the School of
Technology who did area measurement and calculation.Dr
Momoh of the Department of Planning and Research and
Development for introducing us to the statistical package
for social scientists, and the entire community of Freetown,
particularly the various police stations visited and the
veterinary staff at Tower Hill.
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Edited by Ealum, N.L, Macpherson, Francois-x, Meslin and
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Personal data of dog owners
Table 1 Socio-economic data
Parameter Frequency
Sex distribution of respondence
Male 512
Female 388 43.1
Religion of respondence
Christian 583
Muslim 317
Number of dogs owned
One 415
Two 262
Above six 77 8.
rewiew,RevueScienfique et Technique de l'Office
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Science Journals Publication(ISSN:2276-8572)
Page 8
Ecology and habitat of dogs
Table 2 –Ecology and habitat of dogs in Urban Freetown
Different sources and types of food fed to dogs
Rice 159 17.7
Canned food 49 8.0
Others (garbage, kitchen
Left over and household
Refuse) 692 74.3
Cost of feeding dogs per week
US$ 3.00 62 6.9
US$ 6.00 30 3.3
US$ 10.0 12 1.3
None of the above 796 88.4
Methods of feeding dogs
Intensive 121 13.4
Semi-intensive 626 69.6
Free range system 15317.0
Special eating plates
Yes 579 64.3
No 321 35.7
Source of drinking water
Tape 620 68.9
Stagnant water 145 16.1
Leaking pipes 100 11.1
Stream 35 3.9
Respond an provides shelter for dogs
Yes 593 65.9
No 307 34.1
Accommodation provided for dogs
Kennel 109 12.2
Streets 166 18.4
Co-habit with owners 625 69.4
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Science Journals Publication(ISSN:2276-8572)
Individual dog data
Table 3-Individual dog data
Parameters Frequency Percentages
Types of dog owners in the family
Father 420 46.7
Mother 275 30.6
Children 157 17.4
Friends and relatives 48 5.3
Major purpose of rearing dogs
Guarding 731 81.2
Hunting 18 2.0
Pets 151 16.8
Methods of dog management
Intensive system 94 10.4
Semi-intensive 610 67.8
Tethered 39 4.3
Free range 157 17.4
Disposal of household waste
Dust bin 476 52.9
Plastic sac 221 24.6
Garbage dump 125 13.9
Pits or hole 78 8.7
Stray dogs in community
Yes 630 70.0
No 270 30.0
Dog and human relationships
Table 4-Dog mortality and human relationships
Parameters Frequency Percentage
Registration of dogs in Freetown
Yes 358 39.2
No 547 60.8
Vaccination of dogs against rabies
Yes 494 54.9
No 406 45.1
Prevalence of rabies in study area
Yes 238 26.4
No 662 73.6
Life expectancy of dogs
1Month-1 year 136 15.1
1 year- 3 years 360 40.0
4years- 7yrs 184 20.4
7yrs and above 220 24.5
Age of dog reared
1 Month-5yrs 275 30.6
6 yrs-11 yrs 546 60.7
12yrs-16yrs 63 7.0
16yrs and above
... Preventive dental care (36.66%),and registration of dog (26.6%). Suluku et al. (2012) revealed in their study that 38.9% of respondent did register their dogs, of which 22.1% with veterinary clinic, 9.7% with Ministry of Health and Sanitation and 9.0% with private clinics. ...
... In contrary, Hedge et al. (2009) reported that majority of the dog owners kept their dogs in a separate house in Akola city of Vidarbha region in Maharashtra state. Suluku et al. (2012) observed in their study that the majority of people (66%) provide shelter for their dogs. However, one third of dog owners do not provide shelter (34 %). ...
... Selvak (2016) reported in their study that most of the dog breeders (91.13%)did not prepare any special food for their dogs/pets.Only a few(8.87%)of the commercial dog breeders provided little amount of commercially available branded dog feed. Suluku et al. (2012) revealed in their study that Seventy-four per cent of the respondents fed their dogs with kitchen left overs or household refuse, and allow them to feed on garbage. ...
M-mode echocardiographic parameters were determined in 17 clinically normal and apparently healthy Labrador dogs - both males (10) and females (7). These dogs did not show any electrocardiographic or radiographic evidence of cardiomegaly and were then subjected to M-Mode Echocardiographic examination. Standard M-Mode measurements were recorded for both the sexes separately and included parameters like RVDd, LVDd, LVDs , IVDd, IVSs, PWd, PWs, LVM, EF %, FS%, EPSS, Left Atrial (LA) diameter, Aortic diameter (Ao) and LA/ Ao ratio. Correlation of all these M Mode echocardiographic parameters was established with the body weight, body surface area and sex. No significant difference (p ≥ 0.05) was found between males and females with respect to all these parameters. However, an obvious and expected significant (p ≥ 0.05) difference was observed in the systolic and diastolic values of left ventricle, interventricular septum and posterior wall.
... Preventive dental care (36.66%),and registration of dog (26.6%). Suluku et al. (2012) revealed in their study that 38.9% of respondent did register their dogs, of which 22.1% with veterinary clinic, 9.7% with Ministry of Health and Sanitation and 9.0% with private clinics. ...
... In contrary, Hedge et al. (2009) reported that majority of the dog owners kept their dogs in a separate house in Akola city of Vidarbha region in Maharashtra state. Suluku et al. (2012) observed in their study that the majority of people (66%) provide shelter for their dogs. However, one third of dog owners do not provide shelter (34 %). ...
... Selvak (2016) reported in their study that most of the dog breeders (91.13%)did not prepare any special food for their dogs/pets.Only a few(8.87%)of the commercial dog breeders provided little amount of commercially available branded dog feed. Suluku et al. (2012) revealed in their study that Seventy-four per cent of the respondents fed their dogs with kitchen left overs or household refuse, and allow them to feed on garbage. ...
Vertebral heart score (VHS) was calculated in 17 healthy Labrador dogs (10 males and 7 females) - to serve as breed reference range for clinicians and filed veterinarians- under Indian conditions. There was no significant difference in the VHS values between male and female dogs.
... 20,31 Reasons for owning a dog were also similar to others given in Africafocused studies. 19,21,32,34 Having a pet as a watchdog was the main reason for owning one, followed by companionship. Laurenson et al, 22 in the only other study in Namibia to report on animal ownership, reported that northern Namibians in the Tsumkwe area kept dogs to herd animals and for hunting purposes, although officially this is illegal in Namibia. ...
... Interestingly, 10 individuals specifically mentioned that they kept dogs as a meat source. While follow-up confirmation is needed to clarify answers, owning dogs as a source of meat has also been reported in Nigeria, 20 Sierra Leone, 34 the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zimbabwe. 38 Assessment pertaining to cat ownership and the differing reasons for owning cats was unique in this study, compared to those provided in other African-based studies. ...
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Recent studies have highlighted the epidemiology of rabies in southern Africa and the unique nature of kudu rabies in Namibia. However, the serious effect on human populations in northern Namibia lacks focused attention. This study surveyed knowledge and awareness of rabies, including its prevention and pet care in two towns in the Oshana Region of Namibia. Of the 245 interviewed, two thirds owned at least one dog, while a third owned a cat. Eighty-one per cent allowed their animals to roam freely, while 14% reported having been bitten by a dog. The majority of those surveyed recognised that rabies is caused by a virus (53%), identifed a dog bite as the main means of transmission (90.6%), cited wild animals as reservoirs (75.5%) and knew that dogs and jackals are signifcant reservoirs (96.3%). Only 35 (14.3%) identifed the correct answers to all four questions. Most of the study participants (63.3%) received their information about rabies from the media. While 83% knew that free vaccines are available at government offces, only 37% had vaccinated their pets, and only 6% had been vaccinated themselves. The results indicate a general understanding of rabies, but focused education efforts are needed with respect to community members in order for specifc points to be clarifed. The high level of knowledge of vaccine availability, but low coverage, indicates the need for mobilisation with regard to at-risk populations. By building on what is already known, future programmes should successfully reach populations throughout northern Namibia and control rabies in the future.
... In China, for example, the national policy requires the availability of PPE (Personal protection equipment) in clinics in remote areas. Unfortunately, there was no information regarding the availability of PPE in remote communities in Sierra Leone [15] Government across the African continent faces many challenges to effectively coordinate multifaceted programs of implementing the animal-human interface in the ecosystem in which they live [16]. The coordination of such structures is lacking in Africa and most countries have little or no public information concerning policies and strategies to eliminate rabies on the continent. ...
Full-text available
The objective of this write-up is to find possible solution control canine rabies virus in Sierra Leone and other low-income countries in the world. Rabies is a viral disease affecting both humans and animals in Sierra Leone. The country has no policy on dog ownership and management, two veterinarians, limited access to rabies vaccines and human immunoglobin, and a lack of information about the disease in the country despite increasing dog bite cases and death. There is no wildlife specialist to initiate wildlife vaccination. Continuous vaccination increased awareness, trained personnel in veterinary and wildlife, development of policies on responsible dog ownership and by-laws and increase financial support from the government and private sector will help Sierra Leone eliminate rabies in the first half of the twenty-first century.
... This study clearly showed that for proper implementation of one health concept in rural setting in West Africa, proper orientation and education of the people on good animal husbandry practices, role and importance of the dog in providing security and in the control of dog associated rabies [16]. Emphasis should also be to ensure good working relationship between Animal and crop farmers in the context of One Health. ...
Full-text available
The Objective of the research is to bring rural people together control rabies in their communities. One health issues need to be accepted and well implemented in most rural setting of developing nations where health care delivery is still a mirage. This paper examines the challenges and approaches of implementing one health concept at rural communities in Sierra Leone. Rapid and participatory rural appraisal was used to collect information from invitees, Non-Governmental Organizations operating in communities, direct and indirect beneficiaries in and around the project area, including officials from the District Council, councillors, ward representatives, Paramount Chiefs, community leaders, health workers, International and National Non-Governmental Organizations, Traders, Animal Owners and officials from ministry of Health and Agriculture. This study found that implementing One Health in this type of rural community has been difficult due to a variety of factors including a lack of trained available personnel, poor infrastructure, and a weak health system in the animal and human sectors, as well as a lack of organised institutions and financial mismanagement. It also highlighted one-health needs and relevant zoonotic diseases as a starting point for implementing the one-health idea.One of the zoonoses discovered is rabies, which has been highlighted as a factor that needs to be improved in order to accomplish rabies control in rural areas.
... The dog to human ratio in Freetown was estimated at 1 to 14 . Dogs were kept for security reasons and were largely unrestrained and unvaccinated (Hatch et al., 2004;Suluku et al., 2012). ...
Rabies is a neglected but preventable zoonotic disease that predominantly affects the most vulnerable populations living in remote rural areas of resource-limited countries. To date, every country on the African mainland is considered endemic for dog-mediated rabies with an estimated 21’500 human rabies deaths occurring each year. In 2018, the United Against Rabies collaboration launched the Global Strategic Plan to end human deaths from dog-mediated rabies by 2030. The epidemiology of rabies from most Western and Central African countries remains poorly defined, making it difficult to assess the overall rabies situation and progress towards the 2030 goal. In this review, we attempt to provide an overview of the current rabies situation in 22 West and Central African countries based on published scientific literature and information obtained from rabies focal points. To this end, information was collected on i) established surveillance, ii) diagnostic capacity, iii) post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) availability and coverage, iv) dog population estimates, v) dog vaccination campaigns, vi) animal and human health communication (One Health), vii) molecular studies, viii) Knowledge, Attitude and Practices (KAP), ix) cost estimates and x) national control strategies. Although rabies is a notifiable disease in the majority of the studied countries, national surveillance systems do not adequately capture the disease. A general lack of rabies diagnostic capacity has an additional negative impact on rabies surveillance and attempts to estimate rabies burden. Recurrent shortages of human rabies vaccine are reported by all of the countries, with vaccine availability usually limited to major urban centers but no country has yet adopted the new WHO-recommended 1-week intradermal vaccination regimen. Most countries carry out subsidized mass dog vaccination campaigns on World Rabies Day. Such activities are indispensable to keep rabies in the public consciousness but are not of the scale and intensity that is required to eliminate rabies from the dog population. Countries will need to scale up the intensity of their campaigns, if they are to progress towards the 2030 goal. But more than half of the countries do not yet have reliable figures on their dog populations. Only two countries reached stage 2 on the Stepwise Approach towards Rabies Elimination ladder – indicating that their national governments have truly prioritized rabies elimination and are thus providing the necessary support and political buy-in required to achieve success. In summary, the sub-region of West and Central Africa seems to be divided into countries which have accepted the challenge to eliminate rabies with governments committed to pushing forward rabies elimination, while other countries have achieved some progress, but elimination efforts remain stuck due to lacking government commitment and financial constraints. The possibility to meet the 2030 goal without international solidarity is low, because more than two-thirds of the countries rank in the low human development group (HDI ≤ 152). Leading countries should act as role models, sharing their experiences and capacities so that no country is left behind. Unified and with international support it is possible to reach the common goal of zero human rabies deaths by 2030.
... These findings are buttressed by Zinsstag et al (2012) who advised for provision private housing needs of the people for elimination of brucellosis in Mongolia through animal vaccination. This study clearly showed that for proper implementation of one health concept in rural setting in West Africa, proper orientation and education of the people on good animal husbandry practices, role and importance of the dog in providing security and in the control of dog associated rabies (Suluku et al., 2012). Emphasis should also be to ensure good working relationship between Animal and crop farmers in the context of One Health. ...
Full-text available
One health issues need to be accepted and well implemented in most rural setting of developing nations where health care delivery is still a mirage. This paper examines the challenges and approaches of implementing one health concept at rural communities in Sierra Lone. Rapid and participatory rural appraisal was adopted to obtain information from invitees, Non-Governmental organizations operating in the communities, direct and indirect beneficiaries in and around the project area which include officials from District council, councilors, ward representatives, Paramount Chiefs, community leaders, health workers, International and National Non-Governmental Organization, Traders, Animal Owners and officials from ministry of Health and Agriculture. This study showed that implementing One Health in rural communities of this nature had been difficult due to myriad of factors ranging from lack of trained available personnel, poor infrastructure, weak health system in the animal and human sector, lack of organized institution and mismanagement of funds. It also identified one health needs and zoonotic diseases of interest as an entry point for implementation of one health concept. One of the zoonoses identified is rabies where dog ownership pattern and management was identified as factors that need improvement to achieve rabies control at rural setting.
The West Africa ebola epidemic, which killed more than 11,000 people, is fading from urgency and memory. Technical biomedical lessons-learned are being applied in drug and vaccine development, for example in response to Zika. But biosocial issues that arose may not have been directly confronted, or sometimes even noticed, despite their overall importance in the eventual control and ending of the epidemic.
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The Pet Attitude Scale (PAS) score of Kuwaiti adolescents correlated more highly with that of their fathers than with the score of their mothers. This contrasts with a similar American study in which the PAS score of adolescents correlated more highly with the score of their mothers. The different pattern seemed to be congruent with the father's more dominant role in Arab families. This study found that Kuwaiti family members had scores on the PAS about a standard deviation lower than that of American family members, a finding viewed as consistent with the less positive attitude toward companion animals in Muslim countries.
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People have been burying or otherwise ritually disposing of dead dogs for a long time. They sometimes treat other animals in such a fashion, but not nearly as often as dogs. This presentation documents the consistent and worldwide distribution of this practice over about the past 12,000–14,000 years. Such practices directly reflect the domestic relationship between people and dogs, and speak rather directly to the timing of canid domestication. In doing so, they contradict recent genetics-based inferences, thus calling into question the legitimacy of focusing mostly on genetic factors as opposed to other factors. This discussion seeks to work towards a sound framework for analyzing and thus understanding the social compatibility between people and dogs. That compatibility is directly signified by the burial of dogs, with people often responding to the deaths of individual dogs much as they usually respond to the death of a family member. Moreover, that special social relationship continues, as illustrated clearly by the establishment, maintenance, and ongoing use of several modern dog cemeteries, in different countries of the world.
Rabies is caused by a number of genetically closely related viruses belonging to the genus Lyssavirus, of which the species type is rabies virus. A true generalist pathogen, rabies virus is isolated from nearly all mammalian orders, and the disease occurs on all continents except Antarctica. Although rabies can infect all mammals, only a few mammalian species are known to act as reservoirs of the disease, with domestic dogs being the major reservoir throughout Africa and Asia. The association between the bite of a mad dog and rabies has been recognized since antiquity and rabid dogs are still responsible for the vast majority of human deaths from rabies worldwide. This can be true even in some areas where wildlife species are the rabies reservoir, as the proximity between dogs and humans provides a link in transmission between wildlife and people. Further consequences of dog rabies relate to animal welfare and conservation. While the effects of canine rabies on public attitudes and treatment of dogs are poorly investigated, there is no doubt that in areas where canine rabies is endemic, fear of the disease has important implications for animal welfare, with suspected rabid dogs and unknown, stray dogs often killed inhumanely in an attempt to control rabies and human exposure.
This study examined the relationship between personality type and pet attachment by administering the Keirsey Four Types Sorter and the Lexington Attachment to Pets Scale to 163 participants. Idealist personality types had significantly higher attachment scores than Rationals and Artisans, but not Guardians. Rationals, Artisans, and Guardians did not differ from each other on attachment scores. In addition, stronger attachments to target pets were observed as the length of time the respondents cared for the target pets or other pets increased and as the number of current pets increased. Pet attachment was not significantly related to gender, marital status, or pet preference (dog versus cat), while it was nonlinearly related to age.
A random sample survey using personal interviews was conducted in Zimbabwe in 1986 to determine the size and structure of the national dog population and its level of rabies vaccination. There was an average of 0.91 dogs per household in Zimbabwe giving an extrapolated total population of 1,308,577 dogs. There was a dog to people ratio of 1:6.5 and an average of 3.4 dogs per square kilometre. The ratio of adult male to female dogs was 0.56:0.44, with 20 per cent of the dog population being less than three months old. In the period 1950 to 1986 there was a 4.7 per cent per annum growth rate of the dog population. In one of the provinces, Manicaland, dogs were found to have an average age of 2.3 years and a life expectancy at birth of 4.6 years. An estimated 40 per cent of the dog population three months old and above had been vaccinated against rabies in 1985/1986. With the rabies incidence in Zimbabwe still unacceptably high this level of vaccination is clearly inadequate and measures designed to increase it are discussed.
A random sample of households in Machakos District of Kenya was surveyed using personal interviews to determine features of dog ecology relevant to the spread of rabies. A mean of 1.35 dogs/household, a dog to person ratio of 1:9.6 and a mean of 10.4 dogs/km2 were estimated. The male to female ratio was 1:0.67 with 26% of the dog population being less than three months old. The dogs had a mean age of 1.8 years. The proportion of the dogs which fed on household leftovers and waste was 94.7%. Dogs were restricted in 19.4% of the households, while 69% of the dogs spent all of their time free outdoors. One-third of the dog population over three months old had been vaccinated against rabies. Considering the endemic status of rabies in Machakos District, methods which could be devised to control the disease are discussed.
Characteristics of dog populations and their accessibility for rabies vaccination were compared in an urban and a semi-rural area in Zambia. A total of 1,190 households were interviewed. In the urban study area (Mutendere, a low income suburb of Lusaka) only 11% of the households kept dogs with a dog:human ratio of 1:45. In the semi-rural area (Palabana) dogs were kept by 42% of households with a dog:human ratio of 1:6,7. In conjuction with the study of the dog populations in these two areas, immunization of dogs against rabies was provided by door-to-door visits in both study areas and also through central point vaccination in the urban area. The attitude of the public towards free rabies vaccinations was positive, although some misconceptions regarding indications and modalities of treatment following exposure to suspect dogs were found. Approximately 50% of the dog removals were as a result of disease and the demand for dogs was higher than the supply. Although only information on the owned segment of the dog population was obtained during the study, the proportion of ownerless dogs appeared to be very low. Generally, there is a need for better co-ordination between the different services involved in rabies control in Zambia to enhance the sustainability of vaccination programmes and improve the treatment of persons bitten by dogs.
Although dogs are the most widespread and abundant of all carnivores, the role of the dog in human cultures and its impact on the environment have rarely been studied. These subjects are reviewed in the context of canine rabies. To understand the epizootiology of canine rabies, the ecology and population biology of the dog must be considered. Information on dog populations (in relation to different habitats, cultures, social strata of human populations and epizootiological situations) was collected in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Switzerland and Tunisia. In Switzerland (and Western Europe in general), rabies is maintained and spread by red foxes. The low prevalence of rabies in dogs may be explained by restrictive practices of dog-keeping and high rates of vaccination. In the other areas examined, dogs are poorly supervised and their population densities are high enough to support rabies, although it is questionable whether canine rabies exists independently of a wildlife reservoir. Dog-keeping practices, high rates of exposure and various cultural factors may lead to a high human rabies mortality rate. Nevertheless, dogs in these areas remain sufficiently accessible for vaccination and well-executed control programmes could prove successful.
Whether and how microparasites such as rabies persist in their host populations are among the fundamental questions of infectious disease epidemiology. Rabies is fatal disease of all mammalian species, but not all mammalian species can maintain the infection as reservoirs. The approach to control depends on which of the affected species do act as reservoirs. Bringing together old and new data, we examine here the role of wild and domestic animals in maintaining rabies in the Serengeti region of Tanzania, presenting our findings in two parts. In Part I, we argue that domestic dogs are the likely reservoirs because: (1) rabies has been continuously present in the dog population since its (re)introduction in 1977, whilst (2) wildlife cases have been very rare over this period, despite intensive study of Serengeti carnivores; (3) outbreaks of rabies in wild canids (jackals) elsewhere in Africa (Zimbabwe) have followed, rather than preceded, outbreaks in the dog population; (4) all viruses isolated from wild carnivores in the Serengeti ecosystem (including the Kenyan Masai Mara) are antigenically and genetically indistinguishable from the typical domestic dog strain; (5) dog rabies control in the Serengeti between 1958-77 apparently eliminated the disease from both dogs and wildlife. Having identified dogs as reservoirs, Part II explores some possible mechanisms of maintenance in dog populations. In theory, infection is more likely to be maintained at higher dog densities, and we provide evidence that rabies is maintained in one district with a dog density > 5/km2, but not in two other districts with densities < 1/km2. Because 5 dogs/km2 is much lower than the expected density required for persistence, we go on to investigate the role of atypical infections, showing: (1) from serology, that a substantial proportion of healthy dogs in the Serengeti have detectable serum levels of rabies-specific antibody; (2) from mathematical models that, whilst we cannot be sure what seropositivity means, persistence in low-density dog populations is more likely if seropositives are infectious carriers, rather than slow-incubators or immunes.