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YouTube videos offer insight into dog bites
Common dog breeds in the videos were Chihuahuas, German shepherds, pit bulls and Labrador retrievers (stock photo).
Seven in 10 victims were men, study found 

For the first time, scientists have used YouTube videos to learn more about the risk factors that lead to dog bites.

Researchers from the University of Liverpool used search terms such as ‘dog bite’ and ‘dog attack’ to find 143 videos, of which 56 showed details of the human and dog behaviour that led up to the bite.

Findings published in the journal Scientific Reports suggest that around seven in 10 of the bite victims in the videos were male, while over half were children or infants. Common dog breeds observed were Chihuahuas, German shepherds, pit bulls and Labrador retrievers.

Whilst the study did not explore the causal relationship between human behaviour and dog bites, tactile contact with a dog increased around 20 seconds before a bite, as did standing or leaning over a dog.

Researchers acknowledged that YouTube videos of dog bites are likely to be subject to some bias. For example, bites by small dogs may be perceived as ‘comical’ and therefore be uploaded online more frequently.

Despite this, researchers said their findings are consistent with previous studies, in terms of breed type and the gender and age of victims.

Lead author Sara Owczarczak-Garstecka said: “Online videos present us with an unexplored opportunity to observe dog bites first-hand, something which is just not possible using other methods.

“Making more use of this type of shared content for research could help us better understand how and why bites occur and contribute to the development of bite prevention strategies.”

The findings could also offer valuable insights for bite prevention strategies, by emphasising the risk of leaning over dogs.

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Nominations for 2019 RSPCA Honours Awards now open

News Story 1
 People across the UK are being urged to nominate a standout animal champion for the 2019 RSPCA Honours Awards.

The awards recognise those who have worked tirelessly to improve animal welfare, campaigned on behalf of animals, or shown true bravery. Previous winners include comedian John Bishop, who was awarded Celebrity Animal Champion of the Year, and 11-year-old Lobby Cantwell, who raised more than £1,000 for the charity through mountain climbs and bike rides.

To submit a nomination or find out more about the awards visit the RSPCA website. Nominations will remain open until 4 pm on Friday, March 15.  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
New £1m project to investigate dairy cow lameness

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) is leading a new £1 million research project to investigate the causes of lameness in dairy cows.

One in three dairy cows are affected by lameness every day in the UK, costing the industry an estimated £250 milion annually.

The project will take three years to complete and is due to finish by November 2021.

Professor Georgios Banos of SRUC commented: “In addition to pain and discomfort to the animal, lameness is associated with decreased milk production and inflated farm costs.

“Among cows raised in the same environment, some become lame while others do not. Understanding the reasons behind this will help us develop targeted preventive practices contributing to enhanced animal welfare and farm profitability.”