Animal control measures and their relationship to the reported incidence of dog bites in urban Canadian municipalities

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Various measures, including ticketing, licensing, and breed-specific legislation, are used by municipalities to control dog bites, but their effectiveness is largely unknown. Thirty-six urban Canadian municipalities provided information about their animal control practices, resourcing, and (for 22 municipalities) rate of reported dog bites. Municipalities differed widely in rates of licensing (4% to 75%) and ticketing (0.1 to 83 per 10 000 people), even where staffing and budgets were similar. Reported frequency of dog bites ranged from 0 to 9.0 (median 1.9) per 10 000 people. Rates were generally higher in municipalities with higher ticketing, licensing, staffing, and budget levels. However, in municipalities with very active ticketing the reported bite rate was much lower than predicted by a linear regression on ticketing rate (quadratic regression, R2 = 0.52), likely reflecting a reduction in actual bites with very active enforcement. Municipalities with and without breed-specific legislation did not differ in reported bite rate. Ticketing appeared most effective in reducing dog bites, although it may also lead to increased reporting.


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