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« Independence, MO adjusts pet limit law | Main | Socialization, dog bites and muzzling »

August 06, 2008

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Jim Crosby

Hi Brent:
The facts you mention are exactly why here in Bay County Florida(where my current gig is as Director of Animal Control)I set up a free vaccine clinic for residents. In one day we vaccinated over a thousand (yes, +1000)dogs and cats, many of which had NEVER BEEN VACCINATED. We have to get the word out that, even though we spend a little, the benefits are, as the commercial says, PRICELESS.
And yes, I want to be Bill Bruce of Calgary when I grow up!

Dan Storie

Solutions have to be community-based.

By providing spay\nueter at no cost in low-income areas, the volunteers with The Montana Spay Neuter Task Force (mtspayneutertaskforce.org) report an average drop in bite reports of 33% and shelter intake of 19% in areas all across Montana over their 10 year history. From 40% to 75% of the people attending these events say they have _never_ spayed or neutered a pet, yet this model motivates them to attend. Since owners are encouraged to work in the event, vets, assistants, and volunteers all have the opportunity to educate them. The cost is a fraction of what many cities spend on animal control. That is a better success rate than any ordinance-based approach I can find. Cheaper as well

Community Pets was started to see if the model can be replicated in Eastern Washington. You can contact the MTSNTF and see if their model could work for you...

Caveat

Re: The Montana situation.

I'm wondering what other measures were employed, since sterlization itself won't contribute to a reduction in dog bites - reproductive status and dog bites are two different issues.

Maybe people valued their dogs more once they had obtained some vet care for them and made a greater effort to train and protect them.

Or did AC start enforcing typical nuistance bylaws - dogs at large, failure to license, etc?

Dan Storie

Respectfully, smoke and fire are two different issues as well, but they are interrelated.

When male dogs are castrated there is a distinct and measureable decrease in behaviors that lead to biting - such as roaming, packing up, general aggressiveness, etc.

Your point two is very likely, because part of the focus of the event is veterinarians and volunteers "evangelizing" to the pet owners about how important their pets are, how much more valuable they are now, how they can take care of them. Participants do value them more and probably pay more attention to them.

I can find no evidence (though the Task Force might be able to tell you) that there was any increased enforcement in any of these locations by animal control. Some don't even have animal control, per se.

The removal of 20% of the unwanted litters from a population might also lead to some of this - unwanted dogs obviously don't get as much attention, which can lead to problem behaviors.

Since most dog bites occur in or around a home - less frequently from homeless dogs or strays, it is quite likely that it was a combination of loss of testosterone and the owners newfound attitude toward the dogs and their neighbors.

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