Evidence supporting that human-subsidized free-ranging dogs are the main cause of animal losses in small-scale farms in Chile
Author(s)Montecino-Latorre, Diego; San Martín, William
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Abstract We surveyed professionals from the Chilean Ministry of Agriculture working with small-scale farmers to characterize the attacks of free-ranging dogs across Chile. Nationwide, in a single year, free-ranging dogs attacked 25% of the ca. 8500 farms included in the survey, killing or injuring about 10 000 small ruminants. These dogs were ranked as the main cause of animal losses for small-scale farmers, representing a threat to the livelihoods of this vulnerable group. Further, free-ranging dogs attacking small ruminants were considered as human-subsidized, since they would be recruited by irresponsible ownership and abandonment from urban centers. This is the first national assessment reporting that human-subsidized dogs are a main threat to livestock rearing. Policies to control populations of these animals should target their anthropogenic origin as well as cultural shifts in dog ownership and animal welfare. While these policies may be effective mid- to long-term approaches, short-term actions may also be needed.