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Environmental Management

, Volume 54, Issue 3, pp 373–382 | Cite as

Bark in the Park: A Review of Domestic Dogs in Parks

  • Michael A. Weston
  • James A. Fitzsimons
  • Geoffrey Wescott
  • Kelly K. Miller
  • Kasun B. Ekanayake
  • Thomas Schneider
Article

Abstract

The presence of domestic dogs Canis familiaris in public open spaces is increasingly controversial. In our review of the literature, we located 133 publications of various types (papers, reports etc.) that examine some aspect of dogs in parks and open spaces (50 % focussed solely on dogs). There has been an exponential growth in the cumulative number of articles (R 2 = 0.96; 82 % published since 1997); almost all pertain to temperate latitudes (97 %) and most to the northern hemisphere (62 %). Most articles focus on impacts on wildlife (51 %), zoonotic diseases (17 %), and people’s perceptions regarding dogs (12 %). Articles mostly describe problems associated with dogs, while reports of low compliance with dog regulations are common. We outline six major findings regarding dogs in parks: (1) there is a paucity of information on dogs in parks, particularly in relation to their interactions with wildlife and regarding their management; (2) published studies are mainly restricted to a handful of locations in developed countries; (3) sectors of societies hold different views over the desirability of dogs in parks; (4) the benefits and risks of dogs to humans and park values are poorly documented and known; (5) dogs represent a notable disease risk in some but not all countries; and (6) coastal parks are over-represented in the literature in terms of potential negative impacts. Park managers globally require better information to achieve conservation outcomes from dog management in parks.

Keywords

Canis familiaris Compliance Leashing Bibliometric Reserves Open space Perceptions Wildlife Conservation 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work was funded by grants from Deakin University’s Environmental Sustainability Research Group in the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Built Environment. Write up was assisted by a Faculty Collaborative Research Grant and a School of Life and Environmental Sciences New Initiatives Grant. Amy Shaw contributed to coding. Thanks to Doug Whittaker and two anonymous referees for providing useful feedback on a draft manuscript.

Supplementary material

267_2014_311_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (94 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 95 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael A. Weston
    • 1
  • James A. Fitzsimons
    • 1
    • 2
  • Geoffrey Wescott
    • 1
  • Kelly K. Miller
    • 1
  • Kasun B. Ekanayake
    • 1
  • Thomas Schneider
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Integrative Ecology, School of Life and Environmental SciencesDeakin UniversityBurwoodAustralia
  2. 2.The Nature ConservancyCarltonAustralia

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