In 1841, the first Dog License Act officially described dogs as a nuisance. From then on, observers have repeatedly noted that dogs were a nuisance and that their barking was probably their prime irritant (Fielding, 2006). Three fatal dog attacks since 1991 have highlighted the extent to which dogs can be more than a nuisance (Burrows, Fielding, & Mather, 2004). This study reports the findings from 496 interviews—collected from a convenience sample with a quota—to assess the importance of dogs as a nuisance in the context of all neighborhood nuisances and to determine respondents' reactions to them. This study found dogs were to be the most commonly reported nuisance and the second most important nuisance in neighborhoods. Almost two-thirds of respondents took no action about the nuisances caused by dogs. Compared to their reactions to other nuisances, respondents were least likely to inform the police about dog nuisances. Reasons offered for these reactions may include antiquated laws and a feeling that citizens are not empowered to alter the status quo.
Although there has been much research on the connection between nonhuman animal cruelty/ abuse and domestic violence, the link between nonhuman animal care and domestic violence has received less attention. This study, based on responses from 477 college students in New Provi-dence, The Bahamas, indicates that the presence of domestic violence in homes is linked with the level of care and the prevalence of negative interactions with dogs. Dogs received 10 or more of 11 components of essential care in 58.0% of homes without domestic violence compared with 43.7% in homes with domestic violence. A dog was reported being physically injured in 6.8% of homes when domestic violence was absent and in 13.6% of homes when domestic violence was present. The study suggests that in homes with domestic violence, dogs as well as people are at higher risk of intentional harm and/or neglect.
This paper reports the finding of the first, known study of a Caribbean community's views on pit bulls. College students (375) provided their perceptions on a number of issues related to pit bull guardianship ("ownership"). Age, sex, and dog-owning status influenced some of their views. They saw pit bulls as being different from other dogs, but not all supported banning pit bulls. Some results reinforced the stereotypes associated with pit bull ownership: Most pit bull owners were under 19 years of age, and older respondents were more likely than younger ones to support a ban on pit bulls. Why different subgroups of respondents held their views would be a useful avenue for future research.
This study compares and contrasts experiences of harm to nonhuman animals in the lives of 830 college students in The Bahamas and the United States. Overall, students in The Bahamas were more likely to have been exposed to seeing animals harmed (65%) than those in the United States (16%), and they were more likely to have seen an animal killed (22% in The Bahamas and 12% in the United States). Bahamian students reported a higher rate of participation in harming animals than United States students. Stray animals were at greater risk of harm than animals designated as companion animals. The occurrence of coerced harm to animals including zoophilia was low. Participants were indirect victims of animal harm at older ages than the ages at which they had first witnessed or participated in harming animals. Cross-societal implications of harming animals are discussed in the context of teaching animal welfare.