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Perceptions of village dogs by villagers and tourists in the coastal region of rural Oaxaca, Mexico

By E. Ruiz-Izaguirre, C. H. A. M. Eilers

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The objective of this study was to gain an understanding of the village dog-keeping system, and of perceptions of dog-related problems by villagers and tourists, in the coastal region of Oaxaca, Mexico. We conducted a survey of the inhabitants of three villages (Mazunte, Puerto Angel, and Río Seco), whose main economic activities were tourism, fishing, and farming (n = 99), and a survey of tourists (n = 151). Dogs were the most commonly kept animals in all the villages. Cultural and economic aspects were reflected in dog-keeping practices. All dog owners allowed their dog(s) to roam free in the farming village (Río Seco), but not in the tourist villages (Mazunte and Puerto Angel). Significantly more dog owners in the tourist village of Mazunte mentioned companionship as a reason for keeping dogs than those in the farming village. All villagers perceived as a problem that there were too many dogs. The mean number of dogs per household was 1.8, and there were significantly more male dogs in the farming village than in the tourist villages. Efforts to control the dog population in the rural coastal region are aimed at rabies prevention or wildlife protection, whereas this study revealed that these issues were far less often mentioned by local people as other dog-related problems. Significantly more villagers in the tourist villages perceived there to be dog-welfare problems than those in the farming village. Significantly more North American and European tourists were concerned about dog welfare than Mexican tourists. Despite significant differences in dog-keeping between the tourist and farming villages, opinions of villagers in regard to dog breeding and methods of dog population control were similar. Villagers agreed on dog sterilization to control the dog population, but also considered that female dogs should breed at least once in their lifetime. Those living in tourist villages could benefit from improving dog welfare and implementing strategies to lessen the problems dogs cause tourists.

Date 2012
Publication Title Anthrozoos
Volume 25
Issue 1
Pages 75-91
ISBN/ISSN 0892-7936
Publisher Taylor & Francis
DOI 10.2752/175303712X13240472427555
Language English
Author Address Animal Production Systems Group, Department of Animal Sciences, PO Box 338, 6700 AH Wageningen,
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animals
  2. Anthrozoology
  3. APEC countries
  4. Biological resources
  5. Canidae
  6. Canine
  7. Carnivores
  8. Coastal areas
  9. Developed countries
  10. Dogs
  11. Economics
  12. Farms
  13. Households
  14. Humans
  15. Latin America
  16. Mammals
  17. Men
  18. Mexico
  19. North America
  20. OECD countries
  21. pathogens
  22. peer-reviewed
  23. perceptions
  24. pest control
  25. Pets and companion animals
  26. prevention
  27. Primates
  28. Protection
  29. Rabies
  30. rural areas
  31. sterilization
  32. surveys
  33. Threshold Countries
  34. Tourism and travel
  35. United States of America
  36. villages
  37. Virus diseases
  38. Wild animals
  39. wildlife
  40. Zoology
  1. peer-reviewed