Roaming the Campus: University Stakeholders’ Perceptions of, and Interactions with, Campus Cats and Dogs

Eliza Ruiz Izaguirre, David Oseguera Montiel

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Free-roaming campus dogs and cats are common in Mexico and other countries. There is generally no policy regarding their status and management. Thus, the wellbeing and tolerance or acceptance of campus dogs and cats relies on university stakeholders, who may have different perceptions regarding these animals. The objective of this study was to investigate university stakeholder perceptions of campus dogs and cats and self-reported human–animal interactions in Yucatán, Mexico, as a first step to understanding human–animal relations in a campus setting. A survey was conducted at four campuses (including one high school) of the Autonomous University of Yucatán. Students, faculty members, administrative staff, and janitors were invited to participate, and 353 questionnaires were completed and analyzed (181 women, 160 men, ages ranging from 15 to 67 years). Students were more likely to “absolutely like” the presence of campus dogs, and cats. There was general agreement among stakeholders that “the ideal situation for a cat is to roam free,” but they did not think the same about dogs. Human–animal interactions included feeding and/or touching campus dogs and cats. Logistic regression models showed that cat owners were more likely to feed campus cats, whereas dog owners were more likely to feed and touch campus dogs. Students were more likely to touch campus dogs and cats. Those who disliked or were indifferent to campus dogs and cats were unlikely to feed or touch them. Most respondents perceived problems with campus dogs (85%) and cats (68%), with differences among stakeholders and campuses. The most commonly perceived problem for dogs and cats was poor animal welfare (i.e., too thin and/or sick). Faculty members were the most concerned about dogs and cats projecting a bad image of the university. Management initiatives should target those who feed and touch dogs and cats and also address the concerns of faculty members, administrative staff, and janitors. Active engagement of university stakeholders may alleviate perceived problems and improve on-campus animal welfare.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAnthrozoos
Volume34
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)423-439
ISSN1753-0377
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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