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Relationship Between Scarring and Dog Aggression in Pit Bull-Type Dogs Involved in Organized Dogfighting

By Katherine A. Miller, Rachel Touroo, C. Victor Spain, Kelly Jones, Pamela Reid, Randall Lockwood

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Abstract

When pit bull-type dogs are seized in an investigation of organized dogfighting, heavily scarred dogs are often assumed to be highly dog aggressive due to a history of fighting. These dogs may be deemed dangerous and euthanized based on scarring alone. We analyzed our existing data on dogs seized from four dogfighting investigations, examining the relationship between the dogs’ scars with aggression towards other dogs. Scar and wound data were tallied in three body zones where dogfighting injuries tend to be concentrated. Dog aggression was assessed using a model dog and a friendly stimulus dog in a standardized behavior evaluation. Scarring and dog aggression were significantly related, more strongly among male (Fisher’s Exact p < 0.001) than female dogs (Fisher’s Exact p = 0.05). Ten or more scars in the three body zones was a reasonable threshold with which to classify a dog as high risk for dog aggression: 82% of males and 60% of females with such scarring displayed dog aggression. However, because many unscarred dogs were dog aggressive while some highly scarred dogs were not, we recommend collecting behavioral information to supplement scar counts when making disposition decisions about dogs seized in dogfighting investigation

Submitter

Katie Carroll

Date 2016
Publication Title Animals
Volume 6
Issue 11
Pages 15
Publisher MDPI
DOI 10.3390/ani6110072
URL http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ani6110072
Language English
Additional Language English
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Tags
  1. Aggression
  2. Aggressive behavior
  3. Animal behavior
  4. Animal injuries
  5. Animal roles
  6. Animal welfare
  7. Dog Breeds
  8. Dog fighting
  9. Dogs
  10. Mammals
  11. Pets and companion animals