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Climate change fuelling rise in dog attacks

Global warming is fuelling the increase in dog attacks, new research reveals.

Researchers at Harvard Medical School analysed almost 70,000 reported dog bites in eight cities – Dallas, Houston, Baltimore, Baton Rouge, Chicago, Louisville, Los Angeles and New York City – over 10 years.

The study shows cases went up 11%, 5%, and 3% on days with higher UV, temperature, and ozone levels, respectively. On the other hand, there was a fall of 1% on days with more rainfall.

High temperatures and air pollution has previously been linked to aggression in humans, monkeys, rats, and mice.

Lead author Dr Clas Linnman, of Harvard Medical School, Boston, said: “We conclude that dogs, or the interactions between humans and dogs, are more hostile on hot, sunny, and smoggy days.”

Dr Linnman added: “It indicates the societal burden of extreme heat and air pollution also includes the costs of animal aggression.”

The study in Scientific Reports mirrors a similar trend identified in people.

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