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Community attitudes and perceptions towards free-roaming dogs in Goa, India

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  • IDEXX Laboratories, Inc.
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Abstract

Free-roaming dogs (FRD) represent a large proportion of the canine population in India and are often implicated as a source of conflict with humans. However, objective data on the attitudes and perceptions of local communities toward FRD are lacking. This study collected baseline data from 1141 households in Goa, India, on FRD feeding practices and assessed people’s attitudes toward FRD in urban and rural communities. Additionally, respondents identified problems caused by FRD and proposed potential solutions. The study reported that 37% of respondents fed FRD with dog owners and Hindus being the most likely to feed. The majority of respondents agreed FRD were a menace (57%), a nuisance (58%) and scary (60%). Most respondents also agreed FRD were a vulnerable population (59%), that belong in communities (66%) and have a right to live on the streets (53%). Barking was the most commonly reported problem associated with FRD and the preferred solution was to impound FRD in shelters. This study reveals the complex and often misunderstood relationship between local communities and FRD and highlights potential strategies to reduce human–dog conflict.

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Our wellbeing is greatly influenced by our childhood and adolescence, and the relationships that we form during those phases of our development. The human-dog bond started thousands of years ago. The higher prevalence of dog ownership around the world, especially in households including children along with the growing number of people studying dogs most likely explain the growing literature focusing on child-dog interactions. We review the potential effects of child-dog interactions on the physical, mental, and social wellbeing of both species. A scoping search of the SCOPUS database found several hundred documents meeting selection criteria. It allowed us to define the numerous ways in which children and dogs can interact, be it neutral (e.g., sharing a common area), positive (e.g., petting), or negative (e.g., biting). Then, we found evidence for an association between interacting with dogs during childhood and an array of health and mental benefits like stress relief and the development of empathy. Walking a dog and playing with one are perfect physical activity opportunities. Additionally, interacting with a dog can help lower stress and may have a role in the development of empathy. Nonetheless, a number of detrimental outcomes have also been identified in both humans and dogs. Children are the most at-risk population regarding dog bites and dog-borne zoonoses, which may lead to a subsequent fear of dogs or even death. Moreover, pet bereavement is generally inevitable when living with a canine companion and should not be trivialized. In terms of dogs, children sometimes take part in caretaking behaviors toward them which include going on walks. They are opportunities for dogs to relieve themselves outside, but also to exercise and socialize. In contrast, a lack of physical activity can lead to the onset of obesity. Dogs may present greater levels of stress when in the presence of children. Finally, the welfare of assistance, therapy, and free-roaming dogs remains underexplored. Overall, the study of the effects, positive as well as negative, on both species still requires further development. We call for more longitudinal studies and hope for cross-cultural research in the future in order to better understand the impact child-dog interactions might have.
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A cross-sectional telephone survey of randomly selected households examined the extent and types of problems associated with free-roaming dogs and cats in the Teramo province of Italy. The households were sampled randomly within each municipality; municipalities were combined into coastal, central hills and mountain regions for analysis. The survey was conducted in May and June of 2004 with a response rate of 74% (397/536). Ninety percent of respondents (N=356) believed that free-roaming dogs and cats were a problem. They were most commonly concerned about personal safety, followed by animal welfare, public health and environmental sanitation. Sixty-nine percent of respondents (274) actually saw free-roaming dogs or cats where they live. While dogs were most commonly seen, cats were seen in greater numbers. Overall, 10% (39/297) and 5% (21/397) of respondents cared for free-roaming cats and dogs, respectively. Two-thirds of the respondents (251/397) believed that animals were abandoned because the owners lost interest. About 2/3 of respondents (251/397) reported that the community government should have the responsibility for dealing with free-roaming dogs and cats. The respondents supported the idea of building more shelters and controlling the birth rate as control measures rather than euthanizing dogs and cats. The results suggest that free-roaming dogs and cats are a very common sight in this part of Italy with substantial concerns by the residents. However, concerns about the animals' welfare were clearly raised, supporting the laws that make it illegal to euthanize a healthy dog or cat in Italy. Using the information from this study, research on the underlying causes of abandonment of dogs and cats or failing to sterilize them should be undertaken to begin to address this problem. Further, national and regional funding must be provided to support existing laws which should help protect and eventually decrease the numbers of free-roaming and homeless dogs and cats.
Article
The aim of the present study was to assess the efficacy of a rehabilitation program on improving behavior and welfare of a group of urban free ranging dogs kept in a dog shelter. In this study, a rehabilitation protocol including training and adaptability to home environment was applied to eight urban free ranging dogs kept in a dog shelter in Ankara, Turkey. At the beginning of the study, all dogs’ reactions were assessed by short test situations in order to divide them into two groups, i.e. dogs with behavioral changes such as fear and aggression (Group 1) and dogs without behavioral changes (Group 2). Behavior and emotional assessments were done in the beginning as well as at the end of the program which lasted six weeks. It was observed that majority of the dogs were obeying basic signals or requests on and off leash. In the second assessment, most of the dogs were displaying relaxed body posture while interacting with humans. Nevertheless, only significant difference was found between the groups in adaptability to home environment (Mann-Whitney’s U test, p<0.05). None of the dogs in Group 1 were evaluated as relaxed whereas all the dogs in Group 2 were displaying relaxed body posture, thus a positive emotional state, in home environment on the 1st day.
Article
In Nepal, most dogs are free to roam and may transmit diseases to humans and animals. These dogs often suffer from malnutrition and lack basic health care. Minimal information is available about their demographics and about public attitudes concerning dogs and diseases. We carried out a study in Chitwan District (central Nepal), to collect baseline data on free-roaming owned dog demographics, assess knowledge, attitudes and practices of dog owners concerning dogs and rabies, evaluate rabies vaccination coverage and anthelmintic treatment of dogs, measure dogs' response to rabies vaccination and assess dog health through body condition scores and parasites. We conducted household interviews with owners of free-roaming female dogs (n = 60) and administered dogs with rabies vaccination and anthelmintics. Dog owners regularly fed free-roaming dogs but provided minimal health care; 42% of respondents did not claim ownership of the dog for which they provided care. We collected skin, faecal and blood samples for parasite identification and for measuring rabies virus-specific antibodies. Ninety-two per cent of dog owners were aware of the routes of rabies virus transmission, but only 35% described the correct post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) following a dog bite. Twenty-seven per cent of the dogs had measurable rabies virus-specific antibody titres and 14% had received anthelmintics in the previous year. Following rabies vaccination, 97% of dogs maintained an adequate antibody titre for ≥6 months. Most dogs appeared healthy, although haemoprotozoans, endoparasites and ectoparasites were identified in 12%, 73% and 40% of the dogs, respectively. Poor skin condition and parasite load were associated. Seventy-four per cent of the females had litters in 1 year (mean litter size = 4.5). Births occurred between September and February; we estimated 60% mortality in puppies. We concluded that vaccination coverage, PEP awareness and anthelmintic treatment should be emphasized in educational programmes focussed on animal welfare, veterinary and public health.
Article
Population management of free-roaming domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) is of interest due to the threat these animals pose to people, other animals and the environment. Current sterilization procedures for male dogs include surgical and chemical methods. However, little is known about how these procedures affect their behavior. The primary objective of this study was to investigate changes in selected behaviors following chemical and surgical sterilization in a male free-roaming dog (FRD) population in southern Chile. We also examined the association between serum testosterone levels and behaviors thought to be influenced by circulating androgens. A total of 174 dogs were randomly assigned to either a surgical or chemical sterilization group, or a control group. At the onset of the intervention period, 119 dogs remained and 102 dogs successfully completed the study. Each dog was monitored pre- and post-intervention using video recordings, GPS collars, and blood samples for the measurement of testosterone. Analysis of behavior revealed that surgically castrated dogs showed no reduction of sexual activity or aggression when compared to their pre-intervention behavior. Chemically sterilized dogs showed a statistically significant increase in dog-directed aggression, but no change in sexual activity. There was no change in home range size in any groups between the pre- and post-intervention measurement. We found no consistent association between levels of serum testosterone concentration and behavioral changes in any of the groups. This study presents the first detailed behavioral observations following surgical and chemical sterilization in male FRDs. The information generated is highly relevant to communities struggling with the control of FRDs. Complementary studies to further our understanding of the effects of male sterilization on the behavioral and reproductive dynamics of FRD populations are needed.
Article
Aims: To investigate public attitudes towards barking dogs in New Zealand in order to quantify the extent to which people perceive barking dogs to be a problem, to compare tolerance of barking with that of other common suburban noises, to assess the level of public understanding about the function of barking, to determine risk factors for intolerance of barking and to assess knowledge of possible strategies for the investigation and management of problem barking. Methods: A 12-page questionnaire was sent to 2,000 people throughout New Zealand randomly selected from the electoral roll. Risk factors for being bothered by barking were examined using logistic regression analysis. Results: A total of 1,750 questionnaires were successfully delivered; of these, 727 (42%) were returned. Among respondents, 356/727 (49.0%) indicated that frequent barking during the day would bother them while 545/727 (75.0%) would be bothered by barking at night. Barking and howling were ranked above other suburban noises as a cause of annoyance. Risk factors for being bothered by daytime barking were not being home during the day, not owning a dog, and considering a dog bite to be a serious health risk. Risk factors for being bothered by night-time barking were not being home during the day, marital status, considering dog bites to pose a serious health risk, and having been frightened by a dog. Overall, 510/699 (73%) respondents understood that barking was a form of communication. Action likely to be taken by 666 respondents hearing frequent barking included notifying and offering to help the owner (119; 17.8%), complaining to the owner (127; 19.1%) or the authorities (121; 18.2%), or doing nothing (299; 48%). Possible responses by 211 dog owners if they had a barking dog included seeking help from dog trainers (59; 28%) or behaviourists (54; 26%), buying an anti-barking device (33; 15%) or getting rid of the dog (20; 10%). Conclusions: Barking was considered to be potentially disturbing by respondents to this survey. Attitudes towards barking were most influenced by age, dog ownership, past experience with dogs and attitude towards dog bites. Public understanding of the possible reasons for barking and appropriate methods of managing the behaviour when it becomes a problem could be improved by better education and the provision of information through veterinary clinics and social media.
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Research on women's preponderance among animal rights advocates explains it exclusively as a product of women's socialization, emphasizing a relational orientation of care and nurturing that extends to animals. The authors propose a more structural explanation: Women's experiences with structural oppression make them more disposed to egalitarian ideology, which creates concern for animal rights. Using data from a 1993 national sample, the authors find that an egalitarian gender ideology is a key difference in women's and men's routes to animal rights advocacy: It differentiates those more likely to endorse animal rights among women but not among men. Neither this ideology nor other variables in the analysis, however, account for women's greater overall support of animal rights in the combined sample. Reasons for this latter finding are explored.
Article
Human dog-bite injuries are a major public health problem, particularly where there are large populations of free-roaming or street dogs. Dog bites are also the major source of human rabies infections. There is little information on the means to reduce these injuries. Monthly human animal-bite injury records from January 2003 to June 2011 were obtained from the main government hospital in Jaipur, India. The data were analysed and compared with records of pregnancy in street dogs in Jaipur obtained from a street dog sterilisation programme. Human animal-bite injuries showed a seasonal pattern which followed by approximately 10 weeks the seasonal peak of street dog breeding. The number of human animal bites has declined significantly since 2003. It is concluded that a street dog sterilisation programme can reduce human dog-bite injuries by reducing the maternal protective behaviour of the street dogs, as well as reducing the total size of the roaming dog population.
Article
A sample of 514 adults completed a postal questionnaire measuring both their empathy with humans (using the Mehrabian and Epstein (1972) Questionnaire for the Measurement of Emotional Empathy) and their empathy with non-human animals (using the Animal Empathy Scale, developed for this study). There was a significant, but modest correlation between the two scales (Kendall's tau=0.26, p<0.001), indicating that although the two types of empathy measure are in some way linked, they are unlikely to tap a single, unitary construct. This conclusion is reinforced by the finding that human- and animal-oriented empathy exhibit different levels of association with different potential sources of variation. Animal-oriented empathy was related to the current ownership of pets (U=19825.5, p<0.0001) and to the ownership of pets during childhood (U=10271.0, p<0.01), while human-oriented empathy was related to currently having a child or children at home (U=21020.5, p<0.05).
Article
In 1841, the first Dog License Act officially described dogs as a nuisance. From then on, observ-ers have repeatedly noted that dogs were a nuisance and that their barking was probably their prime irritant (Fielding, 2006). Th ree fatal dog attacks since 1991 have highlighted the extent to which dogs can be more than a nuisance (Burrows, Fielding, & Mather, 2004). Th is study reports the findings from 496 interviews—collected from a convenience sample with a quota— to assess the importance of dogs as a nuisance in the context of all neighborhood nuisances and to determine respondents' reactions to them. Th is study found dogs were to be the most com-monly reported nuisance and the second most important nuisance in neighborhoods. Almost two-thirds of respondents took no action about the nuisances caused by dogs. Compared to their reactions to other nuisances, respondents were least likely to inform the police about dog nui-sances. Reasons offered for these reactions may include antiquated laws and a feeling that citizens are not empowered to alter the status quo. Keywords dogs, nuisance, Th e Bahamas, barking ". . . after the hours of darkness set in a number of worthless curs congregate in the city, and commit predations upon poultry and create nuisances which are extremely annoying" (Th e Nassau Guardian, 1898).
Article
This article reports the first known study on dogs in Port-au-Prince. Interviews with 1,290 residents provided information on 1,804 dogs. More than 57.7% of homes kept dogs. Not all the dogs received vaccinations for rabies (41.6%), even though 28.2% of households had had a household member bitten by a dog. Although the "owned" dog population had decreased as a result of the earthquake in January 2010, the number of roaming dogs appeared to have been uninfluenced by the disaster. Given that 64.8% of dogs probably had access to the street and only 6.0% of the females were spayed, to humanely contain the dog population will require both confinement and neutering. Although roaming dogs were considered a nuisance by 63.3% of respondents, 42.6% of households fed dogs they did not own.
Article
Our objectives were to (1) estimate the prevalence of various health indices in the stray dog population in Jodhpur, India and (2) determine if there was an association between an animal birth control (ABC) program and the prevalence of these health indices in this population. A prevalence survey of 323 sexually intact stray dogs >3 months caught from the streets of Jodhpur from September to November, 2005 indicated that low body condition score (70%), skin conditions (69%) and tick infestation (68%) were the most common health problems in this population. An observational study of 888 stray dogs on the streets of Jodhpur from March to April, 2006 revealed that sterilized dogs were more likely to have a higher body condition score (BCS) than sexually intact dogs when controlling for age, based on a multinomial regression model. However, sterilized dogs were more likely to have a skin condition than sexually intact dogs, based on a logistic regression model. Our observations of the surgical/kennel facility indicated that an effective tick control program was needed. Additionally, the current parasite control protocol at the kennel/shelter facility was inadequate to treat mange, a contact-transmitted skin disease. This is the first study to evaluate the associations between an ABC program and stray dog health, apart from rabies.
Article
Animal Birth Control (ABC) is a program by which stray dogs are sterilized and vaccinated against rabies with the aim of controlling both dog population size and rabies. Population size and demographics of stray dogs were measured before and after implementation of an ABC program in Jodhpur, India. Dog population size declined (p<0.05) in three of five areas surveyed, showed a decreasing trend (p>0.05) in 1 area, and remained stable in 1 area between 2005 and 2007. By 2007, 61.8-86.5% of the free-roaming dog population was surgically sterilized and vaccinated for rabies in the areas surveyed. In March-May, 2007, adults comprised 80-96% of the free-roaming dog population, while subadults and puppies comprised 0-18 and 0-4%, respectively. The male:female ratio among dogs>3 months old was 1.4:1. A population demographic model predicted that at the current level of sterilization/rabies vaccination, vaccination coverage would remain above 70%, and the dog population would decrease by 69% reaching stability after 13-18 years. A surgical sterilization coverage under 40% would maintain the dog population at current levels.
Article
Canine rabies vaccination is delivered in Thungsong District, Thailand, as an annual campaign between March 1 and 31, and also at other times through private veterinary clinics, para-veterinarians and health-care staff residing in the villages. The current questionnaire-interview survey was conducted between June 23 and July 18, 2002 to determine: rabies-vaccination coverage amongst the owned-dog population; basic dog-population information; and community awareness about rabies. The modified expand programme on immunization cluster-survey method was used to collect information about dog demography and management characteristics. Household knowledge about rabies and sources of rabies information were assessed. Vaccinated dogs were identified from vaccine certificates or owner reports confirmed by vaccinators.
APBC Veterinary Neutering Information
  • J Ashton
MuMIn: Multi-Model Inference. R package version 1.43.6
  • K Bartori
Government of Goa, India. Integrated disease surveillance project, dog bite data 2011 - 2018. Directorate of Health Services
  • Goa Government Of