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Dog Breed Discrimination in Criminology and Public Knowledge

By Megan Ekkert

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Animal abuse is never an easy topic for people to discuss. Until recently, animal abuse was only considered a misdemeanor charge under the law, but now it can be considered a felony charge. While that should be good news for animals, there are still a lot of questions when it comes to animal abuse. Breed discrimination is a topic of animal abuse that is largely ignored in criminology. This topic brings about several questions. Should breed discrimination be a topic studied more in criminology and why? What is the current view of breed discrimination by the community? Are certain behaviors, such as antisocial behaviors, present more in people that own certain breeds of dogs? All of these questions need to be answered in order to fully grasp what is needed to make the world safer for all animals and to give them a chance at a good life.

This research addresses these questions and focuses on what the community knows about breed discrimination. Several theories inform the research. The main theory is green criminology which is shaped by social theory, utilitarian theory, rights theory, and feminist theory. A mixed methods approach is used for this study. The qualitative analysis addresses what the public knows or thinks about breed discrimination. The quantitative analysis examines personality types of the owners with the type of dog owned. I believe the research shows that not many people are aware of what breed discrimination is. Of those that are aware, I believe the community’s opinion is largely against breed discrimination and they believe it should be studied more in criminology. The data will show if a correlation exists between people with antisocial behavior owning large breeds of dogs. If a correlation exists, criminologist can study who owns the discriminated breeds. This information can then help show that the focus needs to be turned onto the owners of dogs, not the breed of the dog.


Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

Date 2017
Pages 36
Department Sociology
Language English
University Western Michigan University
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal abuse
  2. Animal welfare
  3. Criminology
  4. Discrimination
  5. Dog Breeds
  6. Dogs
  7. Mammals
  8. open access
  1. open access