Vicious dogs: The antisocial behaviors and psychological characteristics of owners

Laurie Ragatz, William Fremouw, Tracy Thomas, Katrina McCoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

Each year, 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs. Of those bitten each year, 386,000 are seriously injured and some killed. Consequently, many insurance companies refuse to issue homeowners insurance to owners of specific breeds of dogs considered "vicious" or high risk of causing injury. This study examined whether vicious dog owners were different on antisocial behaviors and personality dimensions. A total of 869 college students completed an anonymous online questionnaire assessing type of dog owned, criminal behaviors, attitudes towards animal abuse, psychopathy, and personality. The sample was divided into four groups: vicious dog owners, large dog owners, small dog owners, and controls. Findings revealed vicious dog owners reported significantly more criminal behaviors than other dog owners. Vicious dog owners were higher in sensation seeking and primary psychopathy. Study results suggest that vicious dog ownership may be a simple marker of broader social deviance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)699-703
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
Volume54
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2009

Keywords

  • Antisocial behaviors
  • Forensic science
  • Psychopathy
  • Vicious dogs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Genetics

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