U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version



Published in Proceedings of the 13th WDM Conference (2009).


Feral dogs have been documented in all 50 states and estimates of damage in the U.S. from these animals amount to >$620 million annually. In Texas alone, it is estimated that over $5 million in damage to livestock annually can be attributed to feral dogs. We reviewed national statistics on feral dog damage reported to USDA, APHIS, Wildlife Services for a 10-year period from 1997 through 2006. Damage by feral dogs crossed multiple resource categories (e.g., agriculture, natural resources); some examples of damage include killing and affecting the behavior and habitat use of native wildlife; killing and maiming livestock; and their role as disease vectors to wildlife, domestic animals, and humans. We review the role of dog damage in the U.S., synthesize the amount of damage between resource categories (agriculture, human health and safety, disease, and natural resources), and report trends in dog damage during the 10-year period. Results showed an increase in dog damage across all resource categories indicating the importance of management.