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Study of aggression by dogs, according to the kind of interaction between dog and victim and motivating circumstances in the accidents, Municipality of São Paulo, 2008 to 2009

This study aimed to characterize aggression by dogs, the profile of victims, and perpetrators and circumstances of these accidents. Understanding the interaction between victims and aggressive dogs contributes to preventing aggression. The random sample from 20.000 reports / year of attacks by dogs was calculated and 594 telephone interviews were conducted. The highest frequency of assaults occurred in males from 5 to 14 years of age. Non-severe injuries represented 80.4%. Deep lesions (19.1%) were caused by medium and large dogs. Most dogs were medium size adult males. Of the respondents, 52.5% were unaware of the reproductive condition, 41.0% of dogs were not sterilized and 6.4% were sterilized. Dogs without defined race caused 48.4% of accidents and 57.6% of assaults occurred in private places. In 56.2% assault victims were residents of the property or known people. Aggressions from unknown animals were more frequent on the street (30.8%). 67.5% remained with the animals' owners. The attacks were the result of interaction between man and dog and should be studied to identify which human and canine behaviors can trigger accidents, to understand how the interaction occurs in different situations whithin the same household, with acquaintances, on the street, and with unknown animals. Educational approaches detailing risks and prevention methods are essential.

dog; aggression; surveillance; causes; human/dog interaction; public health

Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Escola de Veterinária Caixa Postal 567, 30123-970 Belo Horizonte MG - Brazil, Tel.: (55 31) 3409-2041, Tel.: (55 31) 3409-2042 - Belo Horizonte - MG - Brazil