Free-ranging dogs’ lifetime estimated by an approach for long-term survival data with dependent censoring

Silvana Schneider*, Fábio Demarqui, Eduardo de Freitas Costa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Populations of free-ranging dogs are still a matter of concern in developing countries. The presence of stray dogs is associated with environmental and public health consequences such as the spread of zoonotic diseases. Therefore, public health managers base the promotion of public health on sanitary measures, including the control of the free-ranging dogs’ population. In this context, it is necessary to evaluate the free-ranging dogs’ life dynamics, taking into account all characteristics of the data, including long-term survival. In long-term studies, some causes of censoring are generally falsely assumed to be independent, leading to bias neglected. Therefore, we propose a likelihood-based approach for long-term clustered survival data, which is suitable to accommodate the dependent censoring. The association between lifetimes and dependent censoring is accommodated through the conditional approach of the frailty models. The marginal distributions can be adjusted assuming Weibull or piecewise exponential distributions, respectively. A Monte Carlo Expectation–Maximization algorithm is developed to estimate the proposed estimators. The simulation study results show a small relative bias and coverage probability near to the nominal level, indicating that the proposed approach works well. Moreover, the model identifiability is assured once data has a cluster structure. Finally, we analyze the survival times of free-ranging dogs from the West Bengal, India, collected between 2010 to 2015, and conclude that survival time (death due to natural cause) is negatively correlated to dependent censoring (missing cause).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)869-911
Number of pages43
JournalEnvironmental and Ecological Statistics
Issue number4
Early online dateDec 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • Cure fraction
  • Frailty models
  • Informative censoring
  • Monte Carlo EM algorithm
  • Piecewise exponential


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