Vicious Dogs: The Antisocial Behaviors and Psychological Characteristics of Owners
Article first published online: 3 MAR 2009
© 2009 American Academy of Forensic Sciences
Journal of Forensic Sciences
Volume 54, Issue 3, pages 699–703, May 2009
How to Cite
Ragatz, L., Fremouw, W., Thomas, T. and McCoy, K. (2009), Vicious Dogs: The Antisocial Behaviors and Psychological Characteristics of Owners. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 54: 699–703. doi: 10.1111/j.1556-4029.2009.01001.x
- Issue published online: 21 APR 2009
- Article first published online: 3 MAR 2009
- Received 6 May 2008; and in revised form 16 June 2008; accepted 21 June 2008.
Vol. 54, Issue 5, 1206, Article first published online: 1 SEP 2009
- forensic science;
- vicious dogs;
- antisocial behaviors;
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.