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Demographic characteristics of free-roaming dogs (FRD) in rural and urban India following a photographic sight-resight survey

Tiwari, H.K., Robertson, I.D.ORCID: 0000-0002-4255-4752, O’Dea, M.ORCID: 0000-0002-2757-7585 and Vanak, A.T. (2019) Demographic characteristics of free-roaming dogs (FRD) in rural and urban India following a photographic sight-resight survey. Scientific Reports, 9 . Article number: 16562.

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An understanding of the core demographic characteristics of the sub-populations of FRD is essential to effectively implement both rabies control interventions through mass vaccination of FRD, and dog population control programmes. This study compares the data obtained following photographic sight-resight surveys in rural (Shirsuphal village in west India) and urban (Municipal Corporation Panchkula in north India) locations . A total of 263 and 1408 FRD were seen at least once through 617 and 3465 sightings in the rural and urban sites, respectively. The rural location had a lower proportion of females (OR 0.5, 95% CI 0.4–0.7) and a higher proportion of poor and fair conditioned dogs (OR 1.8, 95% CI 1.3–2.3) compared to the urban setting. The rural site also had fewer active FRD (OR 0.6, 95% CI 0.5–0.7) and FRD were less likely to be sighted within 20 m of garbage points (OR 0.3, 95% CI 0.2–0.3) compared to the urban site. The demographic composition of the FRD population was found to vary within the urban location, with the odds of sighting a de-sexed dog being significantly higher in residential areas compared to other areas. The study underlines the importance of knowing the demographic composition of FRD for implementation of effective interventions against rabies. Fewer female dogs in the rural location indicate that spaying could be an effective tool for dog population management in this setting, while presence of dogs within 20 m of garbage points in urban settings highlights that an improved garbage management may reduce the carrying capacity of the urban locality resulting in smaller FRD population. It is concluded that quick and low cost surveys can generate useful demographic data for FRD in urban and rural settings which can be useful to understand the epidemiology of rabies and its control.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: Springer Nature
Copyright: © 2019 Springer Nature Limited
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