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Development of an item scale to assess attitudes towards domestic dogs in the United Republic of Tanzania

By D. L. Knobel, K. M. Laurenson, R. R. Kazwala, S. Cleaveland

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Domestic dogs are important sources of rabies exposure for humans in the developing world. Control of the disease in endemic areas relies on the vaccination of owned dogs, and thus owners' attitudes and behaviour towards household dogs may be of relevance to rabies control programmes. However, none of the instruments used to evaluate attitudes towards companion animals have been validated for use in developing countries. In this paper, we present the development of an item scale to measure attitudes towards owned dogs in Tanzania. We assess the scale's reliability and validity, and conduct a preliminary analysis of factors affecting respondents' attitudes. Twelve 5-point Likert scale items were selected from an item pool during the pilot phase. Following administration of these items to 824 dog owners across 12 study sites in Tanzania, two subscales were derived, representing the acceptance of dogs as equals and physical interactions with household dogs. Both subscales showed acceptable levels of reliability and concurrent validity, although the latter estimates were found to be influenced by interviewer identity. Male respondents had significantly higher scores on both subscales than females, and Muslim respondents showed more positive attitudes towards dogs as equals than did Christians. Among those respondents who were also the heads of their households, those whose dogs were vaccinated against rabies had a more positive attitude towards dogs as equals. It is hoped that the derived item scale will serve as a basis to further understanding of the motivational considerations of attitudes towards dogs in developing countries, and how these may influence aspects of dog ownership, welfare, and disease control.

Date 2008
Publication Title Anthrozoos
Volume 21
Issue 3
Pages 285-295
ISBN/ISSN 0892-7936
Language English
Author Address Veterinary Paraclinical Unit, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, EH25 9RG,
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. ACP Countries
  2. Africa
  3. Analysis
  4. Animal ecology
  5. Attitudes
  6. Commonwealth of Nations
  7. Control
  8. Countries
  9. Developed countries
  10. Diseases
  11. Dogs
  12. Geographical distribution
  13. Households
  14. Instruments
  15. Interactions
  16. Least developed countries
  17. Mammals
  18. pathogens
  19. peer-reviewed
  20. pest control
  21. Pets and companion animals
  22. Primates
  23. Rabies
  24. Resistance and Immunity
  25. SADC Countries
  26. Social psychology and social anthropology
  27. Tanzania
  28. Third World
  29. Underdeveloped Countries
  30. vaccination
  31. Virus diseases
  1. peer-reviewed