Part of the Global Urban Book Series: Ashgate Publications
Laura A. Reese and Maria A. Iliopoulou, Editors
Global Urban Studies Program
Michigan State University

A long acknowledged problem in other world cities, stray and feral dogs and cats are becoming an increasingly common sight in many urban areas in the United States.  Free-roaming animals pose a serious risk to public health and safety of humans and other wildlife in many urban centers: Public health threats including increased exposure to dog bites and transmission of zoonotic diseases such as rabies, leptospirosis, and toxoplasmosis; Criminality related to dog fighting and animal cruelty; Visible signs of physical disorder within neighborhoods; Health threats to owned animals and urban wildlife; and, Humane concerns for the animals themselves. The process of making decisions regarding the management of stray/feral/free roaming animals is complex and requires an interdisciplinary and comparative approach.  While the primary focus of the book is on roaming dogs and cats, it is also acknowledged that urban roaming animals extend beyond these to include other types of wild animals such as fox, large cats, pheasants and the like. Furthermore, there is a question of collective consciousness regarding what societies agree is acceptable to do with free-roaming animals. Thus, the ethics of what are the most appropriate ways to deal with the issue of free roaming/stray/feral animals for their and community well-being is also an issue that needs to be explored.

We are looking for contributions of book chapters that focus on the environmental, health, safety, ethical, and cultural implications of roaming animals in global cities with a particular emphasis on best practice policy solutions to address these concerns.  Model policies applied in cities around the world that can be applied to cities in the global north are of particular interest.  Because of the policy focus, proposals from both academics and practitioners are encouraged. While certainly not exhaustive some potential chapter topics are listed below:

  • What are the sources of stray and feral dogs and cats worldwide? How can those sources be managed (etiology-human behavior change, economic conditions) through policy instead of managing the symptoms?
  • How do roaming animal issues intersect with cultural and sociological views and practices?  Does such interaction help or hinder the development and implementation of animal welfare policy?
  • What are the disciplines and stakeholders that need to collaborate to further the development of the best approaches in free roaming/stray/feral animal policy and management?
  • Are there important conceptual or issues of nomenclature that need to be clarified before model policy can be developed, i.e. what are the differences between community animals, stray animals, feral animals and the like and how does this impact potential policy solutions?
  • What are the potential health implications of the connections between urban environmental degradation (standing polluted water, lead paint and asbestos in buildings) and the health of roaming animals and humans?
  • What are the relationships between the human/animal bond, human and animal abuse, and other forms of criminality such as dog fighting? Is stray dog aggression a sentinel of a violent human community?
  • What are the ethical dilemmas when exploring the best way to deal with urban stray and feral animals? How do societal ethics regarding stray/feral and free roaming animals affect policy? Do owned dogs and cats have a different intrinsic value or birthright to lead a happy life than stray dogs and cats?
  • How can the welfare of stray and feral animals be assessed? Is the welfare of stray animals positively related to human quality of life in a community (concept of One health-One welfare)?
  • How have trap/neuter/and return (TNR) programs for dogs been implemented in urban settings; how do these compare to cat TNR, and what have been the levels of effectiveness?
  • What do model urban animal welfare ordinances look like and where have they been applied?
  • What types of models are there for cooperative service production between NGOs and the public sector?  How can awareness and engagement of community and stakeholders be raised?
  • What are the interactions between roaming cats and dogs and other urban wildlife?
  • In what sense does the term community include not only fellow humans, but also the animals in a context of kinship? Or, the term sustainability encompass the environment and animals?

Authors are encouraged to submit chapter proposals from 5-10 pages to the editors by August 1, 2015.  These will be reviewed and specific chapters invited by October 1, 2015.  It is anticipated that the final book chapters will be due by August 1, 2016.  Please send proposals along with contact information and a curriculum vita via email to:

Laura A. Reese, Director, Global Urban Studies Program, Michigan State University,