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Dog keeping in Taiwan: its contribution to the problem of free-roaming dogs

By YuYing Hsu, L. L. Severinghaus, J. A. Serpell

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This study conducted a quantitative ethnographic analysis of the influence of demographic factors and early experience (childhood exposure to dogs) on Taiwanese dog-keeping practices and behaviour. A telephone survey of a randomly selected sample of 2001 Taiwan residents between 29 November and 16 December 1999 determined their dog ownership histories, current patterns of dog ownership and disposal and other dog-related activities. The results suggest that low rates of neutering, easy availability of low- or no-cost puppies, a tendency to allow owned dogs free access to the outdoors, unrealistic expectations of dog ownership, canine behavioural problems and religious and cultural taboos against euthanasia and shelter relinquishment have contributed to the recent increase in the numbers of free-roaming dogs in Taiwan. Logistic regression analyses determined that a relatively small number of demographic and experiential variables predicted dog ownership and disposal patterns. The most important of these was childhood experience of living with household dogs. In light of these findings, future efforts to reduce the stray dog problem should focus on enforcing registration fees, particularly for unsterilized animals; low-cost neutering schemes and educational programmes designed to promote neutering, improve knowledge of canine behaviour and behaviour problems and develop more realistic expectations and attitudes toward dog ownership. Marked Taiwanese resistance to canine euthanasia and shelter relinquishment suggests a need for alternative methods of managing the existing free-roaming dog population.

Publication Title Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Volume 6
Issue 1
Pages 1-23
ISBN/ISSN 1088-8705
Publisher Taylor & Francis
DOI 10.1207/S15327604JAWS0601_01
Language English
Author Address Department of Biology, National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei,
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal rights
  2. Animals
  3. Animal welfare
  4. Asia
  5. Attitudes
  6. Canidae
  7. Canine
  8. Carnivores
  9. Demography
  10. Developed countries
  11. Dogs
  12. Mammals
  13. peer-reviewed
  14. Pets and companion animals
  15. Social psychology and social anthropology
  16. stray animals
  17. surveys
  18. Taiwan
  19. vertebrates
  1. peer-reviewed