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Environ Manage. 2014 Sep;54(3):373-82. doi: 10.1007/s00267-014-0311-1. Epub 2014 Jul 1.

Bark in the park: a review of domestic dogs in parks.

Author information

1
Centre for Integrative Ecology, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, VIC, 3125, Australia, mweston@deakin.edu.au.

Abstract

The presence of domestic dogs Canis familiaris in public open spaces is increasingly controversial. In our review of the literature, we located 133 publications of various types (papers, reports etc.) that examine some aspect of dogs in parks and open spaces (50 % focussed solely on dogs). There has been an exponential growth in the cumulative number of articles (R (2) = 0.96; 82 % published since 1997); almost all pertain to temperate latitudes (97 %) and most to the northern hemisphere (62 %). Most articles focus on impacts on wildlife (51 %), zoonotic diseases (17 %), and people's perceptions regarding dogs (12 %). Articles mostly describe problems associated with dogs, while reports of low compliance with dog regulations are common. We outline six major findings regarding dogs in parks: (1) there is a paucity of information on dogs in parks, particularly in relation to their interactions with wildlife and regarding their management; (2) published studies are mainly restricted to a handful of locations in developed countries; (3) sectors of societies hold different views over the desirability of dogs in parks; (4) the benefits and risks of dogs to humans and park values are poorly documented and known; (5) dogs represent a notable disease risk in some but not all countries; and (6) coastal parks are over-represented in the literature in terms of potential negative impacts. Park managers globally require better information to achieve conservation outcomes from dog management in parks.

PMID:
24981273
DOI:
10.1007/s00267-014-0311-1
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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