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Animals 2016, 6(11), 72; doi:10.3390/ani6110072

Relationship Between Scarring and Dog Aggression in Pit Bull-Type Dogs Involved in Organized Dogfighting

1
Anti-Cruelty Behavior Team, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, New York, NY 10128, USA
2
Forensic Sciences Department, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, New York, NY 10128, USA
3
Shelter Research and Development Department, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, New York, NY 10128, USA
4
Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, North Grafton, MA 01536, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Rachel A. Grant
Received: 30 September 2016 / Revised: 3 November 2016 / Accepted: 8 November 2016 / Published: 15 November 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Ethology and Welfare of Animals)
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Abstract

When pit bull-type dogs are seized in an investigation of organized dogfighting, heavily scarred dogs are often assumed to be highly dog aggressive due to a history of fighting. These dogs may be deemed dangerous and euthanized based on scarring alone. We analyzed our existing data on dogs seized from four dogfighting investigations, examining the relationship between the dogs’ scars with aggression towards other dogs. Scar and wound data were tallied in three body zones where dogfighting injuries tend to be concentrated. Dog aggression was assessed using a model dog and a friendly stimulus dog in a standardized behavior evaluation. Scarring and dog aggression were significantly related, more strongly among male (Fisher’s Exact p < 0.001) than female dogs (Fisher’s Exact p = 0.05). Ten or more scars in the three body zones was a reasonable threshold with which to classify a dog as high risk for dog aggression: 82% of males and 60% of females with such scarring displayed dog aggression. However, because many unscarred dogs were dog aggressive while some highly scarred dogs were not, we recommend collecting behavioral information to supplement scar counts when making disposition decisions about dogs seized in dogfighting investigations. View Full-Text
Keywords: dogfighting; dog; aggression; veterinary; behavior; forensic; scar; wound; animal cruelty dogfighting; dog; aggression; veterinary; behavior; forensic; scar; wound; animal cruelty
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Miller, K.A.; Touroo, R.; Spain, C.V.; Jones, K.; Reid, P.; Lockwood, R. Relationship Between Scarring and Dog Aggression in Pit Bull-Type Dogs Involved in Organized Dogfighting. Animals 2016, 6, 72.

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