Tourists’ perceptions of the free-roaming dog population in Samoa
Beckman, Magnus; Hill, Kate E.; Farnworth, Mark; Bowell, Charlotte F.; Bridges, Janis; Acke, Else
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Citation:Beckman, M., Hill, K.E., Farnworth, M.J., Bolwell, C., Bridges, J., and Acke, E. (2014). Tourists’ perceptions of the free-roaming dog population in Samoa. Animals, 4, pp.599-611.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/3131
SIMPLE SUMMARY: For travelers, the way in which people in other nations interact with animals may be different to that in their home nation. This research explores how the treatment of dogs impacted upon the holiday experiences of tourists visiting a developing island nation. In general, and where tourists encountered dogs, their treatment was perceived as less positive than in their home country and had a negative impact upon the holiday experience. Although it is important to recognize that the local population will have a different worldview, tourists felt that the dog population required more effective management and were most supportive of techniques that were non-lethal and humane. ABSTRACT: A study was undertaken to establish how visiting tourists to Samoa perceived free-roaming dogs (Canis familiaris) and their management, additionally some factors that influence their perceptions were assessed. Questionnaires were administered to 281 tourists across Samoa over 5 weeks. Free-roaming dogs were seen by 98.2% (n = 269/274) of respondents, with 64.9% (n = 137/211) reporting that their presence had a negative effect on overall holiday experience. Respondents staying in the Apia (capital city) area were more likely to consider dogs a problem (p < 0.0001), and there was a significant association between whether the respondent owned a dog and if they thought dogs were a nuisance in Samoa (p < 0.003). Forty-four percent (20/89) of non-dog owners agreed that dogs were a nuisance compared to 22% (80/182) of dog owners. The majority felt that dogs required better control and management in Samoa (81%, n = 222) and that there were too many “stray” dogs (67.9%, n = 188). More respondents were negatively affected by the dogs’ presence (64.9%, 137/211), and felt that the dogs made their holiday worse, than respondents that felt the dogs’ presence improved their holiday experience (35.1%, 74/211). Most respondents stated that the dogs had a low impact (one to three; 68%, 187/275) on their stay in Samoa, whilst 24% (65/275) and 8% (23/275) stated they had a medium or high impact, respectively, on their stay. Respondents showed strong support for humane population management. Free-roaming dogs present a complex problem for Samoa and for its tourism industry in particular. The findings of this study further support the need for more discussion and action about the provision of veterinary services and population management for dogs in Samoa. It also provides information complementing an earlier study of the attitudes of local Samoans.
Keywords:Samoa, animal welfare, developing countries, dogs (Canis familiaris), free-roaming, population management, tourism, tourists, Western Samoa
ANZSRC Field of Research:0707 Veterinary Sciences
Copyright Holder:MDPI AG (Basel, Switzerland)
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