Man’s Best Friend is Wildlife’s Worst Enemy

Dogs are huge threats to wildlife, especially endangered species and their habitats, according to a new report.

As companion animals, dogs spread with humans as they settle in new areas and often their populations grow out of control and strays wander freely.
A group of researchers from Utah State University studied the impact of free-roaming as well as feral dogs on wildlife and published their findings in the journal BioScience.  They found that dogs were not only responsible for directly attacking other animals but were also transmitting diseases.

The researchers studied the behavior of wildlife toward dogs and the areas they frequent and also linked dogs to livestock killings, sometimes using genetic testing to prove that dogs had been responsible for killings previously thought to have been done by wolves.

Dr. Julie Young of USU led the researchers who said that humans often underestimate the effect that dogs have on the environment because we think of animals as our companions and not as an invasive species that we are introducing into a new ecosystem. But dogs accompany humans as we move into new areas and their impact is only now becoming understood.

Endangered species suffer most
Endangered species that are already vulnerable to the effects of human expansion are often the worst victims of dog attacks and dog-spread diseases.

Dr. Young first became interested in this issue after observing how dogs killed off endangered sheep and antelope in central Asia.  She then expanded her studies globally and published her findings under the title “Is Wildlife Going to the Dogs?”

It is especially disturbing to read in her findings that dogs can cause more damage to livestock than apex predators like wolves when damage to livestock is often one of the main justification for hunters to conduct mass culls of wolves.

Tough facts that need to be considered
As much as we view dogs as our companion animals and as much as we care for them, we also have to consider the environmental impacts of introducing dogs to new areas. We have to be as responsible for how our companions affect other wildlife as we are for the other aspects of our expansion and sprawl.

Dr. Young says the most important thing we can do is to voluntarily implement common sense measures like dog training and vaccinations. We should also be vigilant about spaying and neutering pets to prevent unwanted litters that can become strays. Rampant breeding strays not only result in more feral dogs disrupting wildlife habitats but can also result in dogs being captured and euthanized by shelters or being killed by government agencies.

“It’s better for people to make the change instead of having it imposed on them,” says Dr. Young. If we want to prevent strays, mass euthanasia of homeless pet, and minimize the environmental impact of dogs we need to be responsible for the pets that come along as a component of our expansion.


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Swiss Town Threatens to Kill Dogs Over Taxes Due

Idaho Refuses to Protect Endangered Wolves

Photo: Mattvey Andreyev

262 comments

Little Star
Little Star7 years ago

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Shellia Duncan
Shellia Duncan7 years ago

Hello
My name is Shellia. i saw your profile today and became interested in you,i will also like to know you more,and if you can send an email to my email address,i will give you my pictures here is my email address (Shelliaand03@hotmail.co.uk)I believe we can move from here! Am waiting for your mail to my email address above because i have a lot to tell you,
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Shellia Duncan
Shellia Duncan7 years ago

Hello
My name is Shellia. i saw your profile today and became interested in you,i will also like to know you more,and if you can send an email to my email address,i will give you my pictures here is my email address (Shelliaand03@hotmail.co.uk)I believe we can move from here! Am waiting for your mail to my email address above because i have a lot to tell you,
Lot's of love,Miss Shellia.

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Shellia Duncan
Shellia Duncan7 years ago

Hello
My name is Shellia. i saw your profile today and became interested in you,i will also like to know you more,and if you can send an email to my email address,i will give you my pictures here is my email address (Shelliaand03@hotmail.co.uk)I believe we can move from here! Am waiting for your mail to my email address above because i have a lot to tell you,
Lot's of love,Miss Shellia.

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Manuela B.
Manuela B7 years ago

at the end of the day, it's humans that have left the dogs in the wild to start with. of course they're going to breed and kill to survive, they're preditors that's what they do.

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Richard P.
Anonymous XX7 years ago

Dogs are not the worst. Cats are. That said, either if left to roam on their own are very destructive. So in reality its people that let them do so or set them free that are truly the problem.

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Grainne O'Carroll
Grainne OCarroll7 years ago

Shame on dogs for killing livestock. It's not like people do it... Oh, wait. No, people do that every day.

"But dogs accompany humans as we move into new areas and their impact is only now becoming understood." What about the impact of the humans moving into new areas? Should we round up all these people and have them euthanized?

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Tricia H.
Tricia Hamilton7 years ago

These people are retarded. They could easily spay/neuter or feed those dogs. Shame on them!!

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Joan Sessions
Joan Sessions7 years ago

This statement is loaded....it is not the actual dog, it is the stupid human that does not spay/neuter thier dogs; then when they no long want that dog they just let it go and it breeds with other dogs that had the same crappy luck.
It is not the dogs fault, lets get that straight.

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Diane L.
Diane L7 years ago

It's pretty misleading to entitle such an article with "MAN'S BEST FRIEND is Wildlife's Worst Enemy". It's not dogs that are companions for man that seems to be the problem, and it's hardly responsible to infer that feral dogs or strays running in packs are the same as they are. Feral dogs in Asia being responsible for killing "endangered sheep" is hardly in the same ballpark as somebody's Lab/Mix and what appears to be a big terrier mix such as a Pit/cross in the photo taking down calves in Montana, either. Of COURSE free-roaming dogs should be controlled. I doubt anyone with half a brain would have any issue with setting out traps and/or doing whatever it takes to remove them from where they are a problem. However, in southern Asia, we have more important issues to address than "feral dogs".

Oh, BTW, Klaus, no cat smaller than a Bobcat of Lynx is capable of taking down a possum, and even if they were, possums can be even more of a nuisance. Please don't try to spew that nonsense. It's obvious that you are prejudiced, and if your Pom can't protect itself from one little "tutty tat", he needs a few Karate' lessons. Shame on you for sharing such ignorance. I love wild birds, personally......have about a dozen feeders, and yes, I find a dead one occasionally. It's called "balance of nature". You also said, "So much for cat owners, just like cats, unreliable, selfish and filthy.".......flat out rude and disrespectful!

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