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Open AccessArticle

Breed Group Effects on Complaints about Canine Welfare Made to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) Queensland, Australia

1
Centre for Animal Welfare and Ethics, University of Queensland, White House Building (8134), Gatton Campus, Gatton, QLD 4343, Australia
2
Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4076, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2019, 9(7), 390; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070390
Received: 20 May 2019 / Revised: 19 June 2019 / Accepted: 24 June 2019 / Published: 26 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dog Behaviour, Physiology and Welfare)
This retrospective study involves 107,597 dog welfare complaints received by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) Queensland from 2008 to 2018. Results show that, compared to pure breed dogs, cross-breed dogs were more likely to be reported in welfare complaints. Poisoning, lack of veterinary support, abuse, and being left unattended in a hot vehicle were common complaints in pure breed dogs; while insufficient shelter, exercise and food/water, as well as overcrowding and abandonment, were more commonly reported in cross breed dogs. Utility breeds, terriers and working dogs were most likely to be reported, while toy, non-sporting breeds and gundogs were least likely to be reported. Common complaint types for utility dogs were: insufficient food/water, shelter and exercise, and poor living conditions; for terriers: abandonment, intentional abuses and killing or injuring another animal; for working dogs: insufficient food/water, shelter and exercise; for toy dogs: lack of veterinary care, overcrowding and staying in a hot vehicle alone; for non-sporting dogs: lack of veterinary care, being left in a hot vehicle unattended and poor body conditions; and for hounds: killing or injuring another animal, intentional abuses and poor body conditions.
Cruelty- and neglect-related canine welfare concerns are important welfare and social issues. Dog breed has been identified as a risk factor for bad welfare, and yet its role in different types of canine welfare concerns has not been fully investigated. We conducted a retrospective study of 107,597 dog welfare complaints received by RSPCA Queensland from July 2008 to June 2018. The breed of the dog involved in the incident was either recorded as stated by the complainant or by the inspector attending the case. Dog breed was divided into groups following the Australian National Kennel Club nomenclature. Dogs of a non-recognised breed were more likely to be reported in welfare complaints than recognised breed dogs. Recognised breed dogs had a greater risk of being reported with poisoning, lack of veterinary support, abuse and being left unattended in a hot vehicle; while non-recognised breed dogs had greater risk of being reported with insufficient shelter, exercise and food/water, as well as overcrowding and abandonment. Utility breeds, terriers and working dogs were most likely to be reported, while toy, non-sporting breeds and gundogs were least likely to be reported. Common complaint types for utility dogs were: insufficient food/water, shelter and exercise, and poor living conditions; for terriers: abandonment, intentional abuses and killing or injuring another animal; for working dogs: insufficient food/water, shelter and exercise; for toy dogs: lack of veterinary care, overcrowding and staying in a hot vehicle alone; for non-sporting dogs: lack of veterinary care, being left in a hot vehicle unattended and poor body conditions; and for hounds: killing or injuring another animal, intentional abuses and poor body conditions. Breed groups rather than breeds may be the best method of breed identification in a public reporting system as they group similar breeds together, and as our research shows, they relate to types of animal welfare complaints. Understanding the relationship between breed group and canine welfare complaints may help authorities improve public education programs and inform decision-making around which breed a new owner should choose. View Full-Text
Keywords: canine welfare; breed; canine cruelty; neglect; RSPCA canine welfare; breed; canine cruelty; neglect; RSPCA
MDPI and ACS Style

Shih, H.Y.; Paterson, M.B.A.; Phillips, C.J.C. Breed Group Effects on Complaints about Canine Welfare Made to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) Queensland, Australia. Animals 2019, 9, 390. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070390

AMA Style

Shih HY, Paterson MBA, Phillips CJC. Breed Group Effects on Complaints about Canine Welfare Made to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) Queensland, Australia. Animals. 2019; 9(7):390. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070390

Chicago/Turabian Style

Shih, Hao Y.; Paterson, Mandy B.A.; Phillips, Clive J.C. 2019. "Breed Group Effects on Complaints about Canine Welfare Made to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) Queensland, Australia" Animals 9, no. 7: 390. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070390

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