Epidemiology, Economics and Risk Assessment

Dog population management

EERA group members are working with international charities Mission Rabies and Worldwide Veterinary Services to investigate the impact of neutering on populations of free-roaming dogs in Asia.

Street dog in India

Free-roaming dog populations are at risk of poor health and welfare, suffering from injuries, debilitating diseases, and a lack of basic requirements such as food and shelter. These dogs frequently come into conflict with humans; they can be seen as a nuisance in terms of noise and environmental contamination, and more seriously can present a risk to human health in terms of dog bites and the transmission of zoonotic diseases, notably rabies. Collectively, these issues have driven a global agenda which has resulted in hundreds of charities, non-governmental bodies and government agencies developing neutering programmes which aim to reduce the size of the free roaming population. It is hoped that such population reductions will improve animal welfare and also reduce the incidence of zoonotic diseases in both dogs and humans.

However, it remains unclear how effective these neutering programmes are at reducing the size of free roaming dog populations. Therefore, the aim of our work is to establish how neutering programmes can be implemented to effectively and sustainably reduce the size of, or stabilise, free-roaming dog populations with the aim of increasing the effectiveness of vaccination campaigns and reducing conflict with humans. We will also investigate the impact of neutering on individual dogs, in terms of their health and welfare, and the impact of neutering campaigns on local resident’s perceptions of free-roaming dogs and neutering.