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Biting dogs in Rome (Italy)

By L. Maragliano, G. Ciccone, C. Fantini, C. Petrangeli, G. Saporito, M. di Traglia, E. Natoli

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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.

Date 2007
Publication Title International Journal of Pest Management
Volume 53
Issue 4
Pages 329-334
ISBN/ISSN 0967-0874
DOI 10.1080/09670870701616134
Language English
Author Address Department of Veterinary Public Health, ASL Rome D, Veterinary Hospital, via della Magliana 856, 00148 Rome, Italy.
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Aggression
  2. Animal behavior
  3. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  4. Bites and stings
  5. Carnivores
  6. Developed countries
  7. Diseases
  8. Dogs
  9. Europe
  10. Human-animal relationships
  11. Italy
  12. Mammals
  13. Mediterranean region
  14. OECD countries
  15. pathogens
  16. peer-reviewed
  17. Pets and companion animals
  18. Public health
  19. Rabies
  20. Relationships
  21. Virus diseases
  1. peer-reviewed