We present data on dog biting events which occurred in Rome and were recorded by the Public Dog Shelter and Veterinary Hospital of Rome. In Italy the control of rabies is regulated by Presidential Decree. Recently, the endorsement of a National Law, aimed at the prevention of dog and cat straying, has greatly modified the relationship with, and the management of, domestic animals in the urban environment. The management of biting and in general of aggression, is therefore no longer seen as only a public health and policy problem but also as critical to human-animal interaction in society. The Public Dog Shelter and Veterinary Hospital of Rome received 1576 biting reports from September 2003 to August 2004. Our survey was conducted on 290 dogs of various breeds and their owners. Data were collected on breed, sex, and age of the dog, on its living conditions, and on the circumstances of the aggression. The vast majority of bites occurred among family members or in familiar places, when the owner did not adopt precautions (lead, muzzle) prescribed by law. The owner was often incapable of handling the animal correctly in particular circumstances such as during occasional dog fights or the person had been bitten when they entered the animal's territory without warning. Thirty-one cases of severe aggression underwent a more detailed ethological investigation of the dogs and interview of the owner. The vast majority of them were 'spoiled' and/or were allowed to act as a dominant animal. On the basis of these results, it is clear that there is a need to modify the evaluation criteria of biting animals, from a solely medical-orientated approach to a more complex ethological approach in order to establish the correct human-animal relationship.
|Publication Title||International Journal of Pest Management|
|Author Address||Department of Veterinary Public Health, ASL Rome D, Veterinary Hospital, via della Magliana 856, 00148 Rome, Italy. firstname.lastname@example.org|
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