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New study to help to reduce dog attacks

Posted by: Tim Berrisford  Date: 09/04/2014   Category: Latest News

The University of Lincoln are now performing an in depth DNA study which they believe will help dog owners understand their pets more, which could help owners control their dogs better and will help reduce the amount of dog attacks and lessen the risk to the general public.

In the last eight years, over twenty people have died from injuries cause by dogs in dog attacks. Between 2012 and 2013 6,334 people were admitted to hospital in England after being attacked by a dog.

Recently across Britain there have been several cases of dog attacks on both dogs and humans and unfortunately some of these dog attacks have been fatal. This has been the reason for the research by academics at the university as they want to get to the bottom of this issue with dogs.

Academics are now beginning a study using dogs DNA to identify which dogs are more likely to become aggressive without any prior warning or reason. The university believe this can be done via taking saliva swabs from several different dogs and identifying the gene that affects a dog’s behaviour.

Researcher Fernanda Fadel said: “If they have a tendency towards a more impulsive personality and a low aggression threshold, we can direct animals to people that know how to treat them and keep them better.”
Whilst the charity, The Dogs Trust always welcomes new research regarding dogs they also worry this type of research could demonize dogs. A spokeswoman for the Dogs Trust said the way a dog is reared and trained is more likely to cause aggression than the breed, adding that “breed specific legislation” is one of the greatest failures of the Dangerous Dog Act. We take an active role in research to improve our understanding of dogs but would worry that this type of research could fuel the demonization of further breeds or give people an unrealistic expectation of how their dog could potentially act in the future,” she said.

The Ark Animal Rescue Centre in Louth, Lincolnshire have noticed that since the result high profile cases where dogs are injuring and even killing other dogs and humans there has been an increase in people wanting to give up their dogs. Manager Susan Rice said: “People are a little bit frightened of the situation and our waiting list has increased immensely.”
The study is set to take a few weeks so the report of results should be out in the summer.