Spatial and temporal activity patterns of owned, free-roaming dogs in coastal eastern Australia

Article


Sparkes, Jessica, Körtner, Gerhard, Ballard, Guy and Fleming, Peter J. S.. 2022. "Spatial and temporal activity patterns of owned, free-roaming dogs in coastal eastern Australia." Preventive Veterinary Medicine. 204. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.prevetmed.2022.105641
Article Title

Spatial and temporal activity patterns of owned, free-roaming dogs in coastal eastern Australia

ERA Journal ID5540
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsSparkes, Jessica, Körtner, Gerhard, Ballard, Guy and Fleming, Peter J. S.
Journal TitlePreventive Veterinary Medicine
Journal Citation204
Number of Pages9
Year2022
ISSN0167-5877
1873-1716
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.prevetmed.2022.105641
Web Address (URL)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0167587722000745
Abstract

Dogs are ubiquitous and strongly associated with human communities, but many roam freely, away from the owners’ property and control. Free-roaming owned dogs can pose risks through disease transmission to and from other dogs, attacking domestic animals, fauna or humans, and involvement in road accidents. However, little research has focused on understanding their movement ecology, thereby hindering the development of effective management plans. We modified store-bought GPS collars and used them to track a sample of 43 free-roaming owned dogs from peri-urban sites in north-east New South Wales and south-east Queensland, Australia. Our aim was to quantify the activity ranges of owned dogs and the distances they travelled, whether free-roaming or accompanying people, and to identify some associated factors. The total activity ranges of our sample of dogs were variable (0.80–1776.20 ha), and the mean daily activity range of collared dogs was relatively large (7.23 ± 11.99 ha), with mean daily accumulated distances travelled ranging from 0.25 to 4.81 km (mean = 1.95 ± 1.10 km). The dogs exhibited two temporal activity peaks, one between 0700 and 1000 and a second between 1600 and 1900 hrs. Most human-mediated dog movements were short in duration, ranging from 45 min to 6 h, with dogs moving an average of 48.60 ± 64.00 km, but up to 329.00 km from their home. The large activity ranges and relatively long movements in this sample of free-roaming owned dogs suggests they have potential to contribute to the spread of exotic and endemic zoonotic and canid diseases in the peri-urban coastal regions of eastern Australia. The baseline information collected here is crucial to our understanding of disease transmission among peri-urban dogs, and modelling spread within and between communities. Additionally, it provides valuable information for authorities seeking to improve management of free-roaming owned dogs.

KeywordsCanis familiaris ; Control; Free-ranging ; Telemetry; Rabies
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Byline AffiliationsDepartment of Primary Industries, New South Wales
University of New England
Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Systems
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