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Stray dogs in urban fragments: relation between population’s perception of their presence and socio-demographic factors

Cães errantes em fragmentos urbanos: relação entre o relato de visualização de cães errantes e fatores sociodemográficos da população local


Stray dogs are associated with environment and public health impacts. São Paulo is a city with approximately 2.5 million owned dogs and until the time of writing no studies describing the distribution of the stray dog population have been conducted in this city. Therefore, no scientific support for intervention plans is available. The objective of this study was to evaluate the association of local sociodemographic and environmental factors with the population perception of presence of stray dogs in urban fragments of São Paulo city. A convenience sample of six urban fragments was selected. In-depth interviews were performe, using a systematic random sample of households in each study area, between October/2010 and January/2011 to identify socio-demographic factors of interest and determine the population’s perception of stray dogs. Additionally, the presence of stray dogs was estimated by photographic mark-recapture method. The degree of human-dog proximity and environmental factors such as waste handling were associated to the sighting of stray dogs. Stray dogs were observed in two of the six study areas, agreeing with the greater population perception of this issue on those areas. Intervention in these factors and encouragement of responsible ownership are two potential solutions for management and reduction of problems associated with the presence of stray dogs.

Stray dogs; São Paulo; relinquishment; carrying capacity; responsible ownership

Colégio Brasileiro de Patologia Animal - CBPA Pesquisa Veterinária Brasileira, Caixa Postal 74.591, 23890-000 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil, Tel./Fax: (55 21) 2682-1081 - Rio de Janeiro - RJ - Brazil